A Bulawayo woman is in trouble for sending an image of a naked President Robert Mugabe to a friend via popular social networking platform Whatsapp.
Shantel Rusike of Sunninghill suburb in Bulawayo has appeared before magistrate Tawanda Muchemwa facing charges of causing hatred, contempt or ridicule of the president as defined in Section 33(2)(a)(ii) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act or Code Chapter 9:23.
According to State papers, Rusike sent an image depicting President Mugabe in a nude state to a colleague identified as Precious Tshuma on Christmas day. The picture was accompanied by the caption: "Robert Mugabe turning 87 years on 21 February, happy birthday Matibili operation."
Tshuma filed a police report leading to Rusike's arrest. The 20-year-old is out of custody on US$100 bail and will be back in court on 11 January. Malvern Nzombe is prosecuting.
Rusike's case comes hard on the heels of the acquittal of a former manager at food concern Innscor, who had been slapped with criminal charges and fired from work for allegedly coining lyrics deemed as insulting to President Mugabe. Tendai Gumbo (33), a former shift manager at Inn Express supermarket in Bulawayo was facing a charge of disorderly conduct in a public place.
While Gumbo escaped the criminal charges, he has joined hordes of unemployed Zimbabweans. Gumbo confirmed being fired after being fired following the case.
"I was fired after being arrested on false allegations of insulting the president in my song. My main worry is while my case was pending at the court, management quickly cooked up charges against me at work accusing me of having defrauded the company of US$100. I was served with a suspension letter on 8 November. A week later I went for a hearing, but while my case was still in the courts, I received a dismissal letter on 22 November," said Gumbo.
He added: "Anyway, I know that all the management wanted to do was to disassociate themselves from an individual accused of insulting the Head of State," he claimed.
The State alleged that on 20 September, while on duty, Gumbo sang: "b>Zanu yawora nemukuru wayo naye awora (Zanu PF and its leader are rotten)"