#Zimbabwe man jailed 1 month for mocking politician Chinotimba’s beard on whatsapp

HARARE – Joseph Chinotimba, the Buhera South Zanu PF legislator, yesterday dragged an Epworth man who poured scorn on his long beard to the magistrates’ courts.

Tatenda Benjamin Machingauta, 29, appeared before provincial magistrate Vakayi Chikwekwe charged with contravening the Postal and Telecommunications Act. The Act outlaws sending insulting messages over the phone.

Machingauta was fined $100 or alternatively one month’s imprisonment.

According to prosecutor Sharon Mashavira, Machingauta added Chinotimba to a WhatsApp group called “Com Fighter”.

When Chinotimba asked Machingauta to remove him from the group, he texted Chinotimba: “Pfutseki Chinotimba, mandebvu aro (Voetsek Chinotimba and your long beard).”

Chinotimba reported the matter to the police. Econet assisted in tracking down Machingauta.

Mashavira urged the courts to pass a custodial sentence arguing that the message was politically motivated.

In passing sentence, magistrate Chikwekwe considered that Machingauta was a first offender.

“You have pleaded guilty thus showing contrition, however, against you I took into account that you insulted an honourable person in this country and such cases are prevalent,” the magistrate said.

“The State had proposed imprisonment but it is rather too harsh and I do not buy political issues that the State is trying to smuggle in.”


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