Mugabe, Gono, Grace "Cartoonists" Acquitted

Magistrate Thobekile Mkhosana-Matimbe last week acquitted the MDC youths after their lawyer applied for discharge at the close of the State case. The MDC youths, Calvin Ncube, Mpumelelo Donga and Gift Mlala were charged with contravening the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly insulting and undermining the authority of Mugabe early last year after they were found in possession of paper cuttings with caricatures that prosecutors alleged mocked the Zanu (PF) leader, his wife Grace and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono.

During their trial prosecutors claimed that the police caught the youths with paper cuttings resembling bearer cheques with cartoon characters of naked people that prosecutors alleged depicted Gono, Mugabe and his wife, Grace.

Magistrate Mkhosana-Matimbe ruled that it was ridiculous for the State to allege that Ncube had publicly made a statement insulting the octogenarian leader when he had been arrested by police in connection with a different matter.

Meanwhile, in Harare the state withdrew charges before plea levelled against Tendai Manyonga, who was charged with undermining and insulting Mugabe. Manyonga was charged with undermining the authority of or undermining Mugabe for allegedly predicting the death of the former freedom fighter by stating that; “Zva 27 June zvamakaita zvekurova vanhu zvakapera. President wenyu Mugabe ari kufa tisati taenda kumaelections.” (The beatings that you did on people on 27 June will not happen again because Mugabe will be dead before the next election).

The MDC youths and the Mbare residents were part of more than 30 Zimbabweans including senior MDC officials and legislators facing charges of undermining or insulting Mugabe.