Zimbabwe: Masvingo Civic Leader Petitions High Court in Freedom Bid Over Anti-Mnangagwa Slur

The High Court in Masvingo will on Monday 6 July 2020 preside over the hearing and determination of an application seeking the release on bail from prison of Ephraim Muthombeni, the Director of Masvingo Centre for Research Advocacy and Community Development (MACRAD), who was committed to prison after he was arrested last week and charged with undermining authority of or insulting President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The 28 year-old Muthombeni was denied bail on Monday 29 June 2020 by Masvingo Magistrate Mbonisi Ndlovu, who ruled that the MACRAD leader is a flight risk and could escape from standing trial.

Muthombeni, who is represented by Martin Mureri of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) had applied for his release on bail after he was arrested by Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) members on Sunday 28 June 2020 and charged with undermining authority of or insulting President Mnangagwa as defined in section 33(2)(a)(i) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

Prosecutors alleged that Muthombeni faulted President Mnangagwa during an address to some commuters, who were queuing and waiting to board a state-owned Zimbabwe United Passenger Company bus, for presiding over Zimbabwe’s agonising economic crisis and demanding that the ZANU PF party leader resigns.

Muthombeni is alleged to have uttered the words; “Murikuona kumira kwamakaita pa queue imhosva ya President E.D Mnangagwa arikukwidza ma prices e fuel achiba mari nevana vake. E.D must go,” which if loosely translated means; “You are suffering as a result of President Mnangagwa’s poor leadership and corruption committed by himself and his children and his failure to stem fuel price hikes and he should resign.”

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