Man Jailed For Insulting Mugabe Gets Relief

The reversal of the sentence by Zuze follows the intervention of the influential rights group, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) who had appealed to the magistrate on behalf of Mafuka.

Mafuka was accused of insulting Zimbabwe’s octogenarian leader when he saw two young boys aged between 12 and 13 wearing t-shirts with President Mugabe’s images and asked why they were putting on t-shirts with the image of an old person with wrinkles on the face. The Chipinge man allegedly told the two boys that President Mugabe was on his way out and that Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was the president-in-waiting. He allegedly went on to threaten the juveniles before the minors ran away. But that was not before Mafuka ran after them and caught one of them whom he whipped.

Zuze ordered Mafuka’s lawyers to pay US$100 in bail money and imposed some reporting conditions for the Chipinge man.

Mafuka’s lawyer Langton Mhungu of Matutu, Kwirira and Associates, who is a member of ZLHR argued in his application for bail pending appeal against both conviction and sentence that a conviction and a prison term was not the proper verdict that Magistrate Zuze ought to have reached.

The lawyer also argued that the evidence of the State witnesses was not sufficient to warrant a conviction and that the sentence imposed against Mafuka was too excessive and would induce a sense of shock.

“The witnesses were so inconsistent and unreliable. There was potential of lying against the accused person,” said Mhungu.

Mafuka, who has been serving his prison term at Mutare Prison after being transferred from Chipinge Prison, is expected to be released from prison once the clerk of court from Chipinge Magistrates serves the Warrant of Liberation to the Officer in Charge of Mutare Prison.