Crackdown on dissent stepped up

THE Police have stepped up their crackdown against perceived opponents of President Emmerson Mnangagwa after arresting and charging a Bulawayo man with undermining his authority.


People celebrate Bulawayo activist Wisdom Mkhwananzi’s release on bail
Wisdom Mkwananzi was arrested on Friday last week and charged with undermining the authority of or insulting Mnangagwa as defined under section 33(1)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23.

Mkwananzi last week allegedly burst out during a public hearing conducted at a Bulawayo hotel by the commission of inquiry into the August 1, killing of civilians, that he was orphaned because the Zanu PF party leader had masterminded the killing of his parents during Gukurahundi, where human rights groups claim over 20 000 people were killed during the post-independence disturbances in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.

He allegedly pointed at Mnangagwa’s portrait during his testimony before the former South African leader Kgalema Motlanthe-led commission of inquiry into the post-election violence and stated: “I am an orphan because of this man, he killed my parents.”

Mkwananzi, who was represented by Jabulani Mhlanga and Tinashe Runganga of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), was accused of engendering a feeling of hostility or ridicule towards Mnangagwa.

Mkwananzi was also charged with lying under oath.

The police officers claimed that Mkwananzi unlawfully and intentionally supplied a false name to the commission of inquiry after he allegedly told the probe team that his name was Siphatha Mandla, which is different from the name, which appears on his national identity card.

Mkwananzi also faces a third charge of assault as defined in section 89 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, where ZRP officers alleged that he intentionally bit Luckmore Dube once on the right hand intending to cause bodily harm.

Mkwananzi, who appeared in court on Saturday, becomes the second man to be charged with undermining authority of or insulting President Mnangagwa inside one month after police officers arrested Alexander Samuel Chidzedzere of Kariba early this month, and charged him with undermining the authority or insulting the President after he alleged that the ruling Zanu PF party had won the July 30 harmonised elections through rigging.

Meanwhile, ZLHR lawyers on Saturday secured the release on bail of three Bulawayo men Marshal Sibanda, Welcome Moyo and Venat Ncube, who were last Friday charged with committing public violence.

The trio was also charged with disrupting a public gathering as defined in section 44(a) Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 after they allegedly engaged in a disorderly and riotous conduct intending to disrupt the Commission of Inquiry proceedings.

Sibanda, Moyo and Ncube were granted $150 bail each and remanded to 13 November 2018 for commencement of their trial. Mkhwananzi was yesterday released on $200 bail when he appeared before Bulawayo magistrate, Rachel Mkanga, facing charges of undermining the president, assault and lying under oaths. He was remanded to November 13.

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