Jembere and another MDC senior official, one Kagodora, who are represented by Jeremiah Bamu of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), were arrested early this month at an open space at Wadzanai in Shamva, Mashonaland Central. They were accused of allegedly contravening Section 33 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 by undermining the authority of or insulting President Mugabe.
The State alleges that Jembere insulted President Mugabe by saying “Mugabe mudenga, ZANU PF mudenga, vabatanidzei, roverai roverai pasi,” which the police interpreted as meaning to say “Mugabe up, ZANU PF up, bring them together and drop them down.”
The State also alleges that Kagodora uttered a slogan, which denounces Mugabe when in his address to party supporters said; “Mugabe mudenga, Grace mudenga, vabatanidzei, roverai pasi,” which the police deduced to mean “Mugabe up, Grace up, bring them together and drop them on the ground.”
Jembere, who is a member of the Constitutional Parliamentary Committee (COPAC) outreach team deployed to Makonde District, Mashonalanda Central arrived at the Bindura Magistrates Court at around 09:30hrs for his routine remand after traveling from Chinhoyi, where he was accommodated for the night by COPAC.
By the time Jembere arrived, a warrant of arrest had been issued against him.
Although the legislator explained to the court during the default inquiry that the he had been delayed and bogged down by his participation in the constitution making process, Magistrate Ruramai Chitumbura confirmed his warrant of arrest and fined him $10 and in default, 5 days in prison.
Magistrate Chitumbura held that court business is paramount to all other issues, even the COPAC process.
Magistrate Chitumbura said Jembere should have made arrangements to travel to Bindura on Wednesday, June 23to be early for court.
Gilbert Kagodora, the MDC-T Provincial Treasurer for Mashonaland Central who is also charged with insulting President Mugabe and against whom a warrant of arrest had also been issued, had his warrant of arrest cancelled.
This was after Kagodora explained to the court that he had first attended a COPAC briefing, in which he specifically made a request to be excused from the proceedings to enable him to attend court.
The court queried why he had not advised the State, to which he said he had been hoping that he would quickly excuse himself from the COPAC meeting and be in court on time.
The duo also reasonably believed that their matters would appear in court at 11:00hrs. This arises from the fact that the court they were scheduled to appear in, Court 3 in Bindura, sits as a civil court in the morning.
They have now been advised that before the courts presides over civil matters, it disposes of all remand matters, except initial remands which are heard at 11:00hrs.
Magistrate Chitumbura will on Friday deliver a ruling on Bamu’s application for refusal of remand, which was opposed by the State which advised that it had referred the docket to the Attorney General’s Office to authorize prosecution.