A LUPANE-BASED police officer has been arrested for allegedly insulting President Emmerson Mnangagwa and calling on him to step down in favour of opposition MDC leader Nelson Chamisa. Taison Hove (29), who was arrested at Lupane business centre on January 3, is also alleged to have said the Zanu PF regalia was only fit for people on a mission to tend agricultural fields. Hove’s lawyer, Bruce Masamvu said his client was summoned by prosecution to appear before a Lupane magistrate on Wednesday, but the matter has now been postponed.
BY SILAS NKALA
“We went to Lupane court on Wednesday. Police refused to take the matter for prosecution after we indicated our intention to have the matter referred to the Constitutional Court (ConCourt), as the charges infringe on Hove’s rights,” Masamvu said. “Section 33(2)(b) of the Criminal law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23, which he is charged with violating, requires the consent of the Attorney-General for such a matter to be prosecuted. The prosecution indicated the matter will proceed by way of summons. Hove is being charged with a piece of law that has no place in a democracy and it is for the Constitutional Court to make the finding.”
Allegations are that on January 3 this year, Hove was drinking beer with other patrons when a certain man passed by putting on a Zanu PF T-shirt emblazoned with Mnangagwa’s picture. When Hove saw the man, he allegedly said such clothing should only be worn by one going to tend to the fields. Mnangagwa, he allegedly said, had failed to run the country and, as such, he should hand over power to Chamisa.
“We are suffering because of ED Mnangagwa and we are paid money equivalent to US$100,” Hove is alleged to have said. Some patrons then reported him to the police, leading to his arrest. Masamvu said Hove also faces police disciplinary action from his superiors in the force, but he has filed an application for the matter to be referred to the ConCourt.
“I submit that in terms of section 85, as read with section 173(4) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe of 2013, I am entitled to seek a referral of this matter to the ConCourt,” he submitted. Hove said the State’s case against him did not disclose an offence justifiable in a democratic society. He described the charges as frivolous and vexatious. Masamvu said the police disciplinary committee, headed by a Superintendent Mudepfa, was yet to rule on Hove’s application.