Media Monitors Case Referred to Supreme Court

The three monitors namely Fadzai December, Molly Chimhanda and Gilbert Mabusa face a charge of undermining the authority of President Robert Mugabe by spreading falsehoods that engender feelings of hostility towards him.

In his submissions Ncube argued that Section 33 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform Act) is couched in such wide and all catching terms that it becomes difficult for one to know what or what not to say about the head of state.
 
“There is no clear cut answer to that, it is therefore left to the subjective evaluation of the law enforcement agents to decide what statement they consider to be false, it sends a chilling effect as it muzzles even genuine hard hitting criticism of the President,” said Ncube.
 
 Ncube said the section effectively shields the President from any kind of scrutiny and seeks to create a situation whereby only good things must be said about him lest someone invites the wrath of the law.
 
“The President is the primary figurehead of the nation and therefore must have the thick skin necessary to bear criticism even that couched in not so palatable terms as such the right to freedom of expression as enshrined in section 20 of the constitution is compromised,” argued Ncube.
 
State counsel Blessing Gundani tried in vain to have the application dismissed arguing that it did not hold merit and was only meant to delay trial.
 
However magistrate Nazombe refused to remove the trio from remand saying she expected the Supreme Court to expeditiously deal with the matter.
 
Ncube had pleaded with the court to have the three removed from remand saying Supreme Court matters took long to be heard.
 
They were given a longer remand to the 30th of April when it is hoped that the Supreme Court would have ruled on the matter.
 
The charge against the three media monitors arose after they facilitated a civic education workshop aimed at promoting public information rights in Gwanda on the 24th of November 2011.