A GOVERNMENT accountant based in Masvingo appeared in court Thursday charged with insulting and undermining the authority of President Robert Mugabe after allegedly claiming the veteran leader was infertile.

The Mugabe insult law was however, declared unconstitutional by the country's highest court last year.

Prosecutors claim Kennedy Venge, 39, made the remarks while chiding a colleague, Sindiso Hondo.

Venge, an accountant in the Ministry of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment based at Mushagashe Vocational Centre has denied the charges arguing the statements were fabricated by his workmate.

He was remanded out of custody to July 7 by Masvingo Langton Ndokera.

According to the State's case, on September 13, 2013, Venge met Hondo and a friend along a footpath at Mushagashe Shopping Centre at around 2100 hours.

Prosecutor Fidelicy Nyamukondiwa told the court that Venge confronted Hondo asking why he had visited his homestead while he was away.

Venge is alleged to have said: "Ndanzwa kuti wasvika kumba kwangu uchinditsvaka, wanga uchidei? Ndakakuudza kuti handide zvemayouth eZanu PF kumba kwangu. Mune nharo saMugabe anorambira pakutonga iye atiuraira nyika. Ndosaka usingazvare saBob. (I heard you passed by my place, what were you looking for?, I told you I don't entertain Zanu PF youths at my house, but you are arrogant like Mugabe who is clinging onto power yet he has destroyed the country; that is why you are barren like Bob)."

Hondo was angered by the utterances and quickly made a report to the police, leading to the arrest of Venge.
However, the Constitutional Court ruled last year that the offence of undermining the authority of the President and "communicating falsehoods" ran counter to the freedom of expression enshrined in the new constitution introduced in March last year.

In October last year the Constitutional Court scrapped a law against insulting the President which had been used to arrest opponents and critics of the Zanu PF leader.

At least 80 cases were reportedly filed before the courts under the law.
The full bench of the top court the law ran counter to the freedom of expression enshrined in the new Constitution which was introduced in March last year.

Most Zimbabweans welcomed the court's ruling, believing the law had insulated Mugabe from criticism.

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