By Kumbirai Mafunda
Zimbabwean authorities on Sunday 3 May 2020 arrested two men in Rushinga in Mashonaland Central province and charged them with undermining the authority of or insulting President Emmerson Mnangagwa after they allegedly shared and made remarks on a video clip in which the ZANU PF party leader brags about the strength of bond notes, the country’s surrogate currency.
43-year-old Robert Zakeyo and 34-year-old Admire Mupemhi on Monday 4 May 2020 appeared before Bindura Magistrate Mary Msika after they were arrested by Zimbabwe Republic Police members and charged with undermining the authority of or undermining President Mnangagwa in contravention of section 33(2)(b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
Prosecutors accused Zakeyo and Mupemhi, who was represented by Gift
Mtisi of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, of sharing a video clip onto a Rushinga Residents WhatsApp group on Friday 1 May 2020 showing President Mnangagwa claiming that the country’s currency is the strongest in the southern African region.
In the video clip, President Mnangagwa is quoted remarking that; “In this region, in SADC, the RTG, our RTG, the current currency is the strongest currency in the region,” while Mupemhi reportedly wrote the word “frog” in response to the shared video clip.
The video clip, prosecutors claimed, also features Gogo Tsvangirai, mother to the late former Prime Minister and opposition MDC party leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Mupemhi was set free after Mtisi filed an application for refusal of remand arguing that the charges preferred against his client do not disclose the commission of an offence to which Magistrate Msika agreed with the human rights lawyer.
Zakeyo was released on $300 bail and was ordered to report at his local police once in a fortnight and to continue residing at his given residential address. He returns to court on 18 May 2020, where his trial is scheduled to commence.