Man Spends a Month in Jail for Alleged Presidential Insult
A 28-year old unemployed man from Mutare, Zimbabwe spent one month behind bars over an alleged insult directed at President Emmerson Mnangagwa. According to lawyers, Elroy Anesu Muchaya was only recently granted bail after his arrest last month.
Records indicate Muchaya was detained on September 6th under a law that prohibits undermining or insulting the authority of the President. It’s reported he entered a local traffic police office that morning, stepped on the counter and removed Mnangagwa’s portrait and said: “Munhu uyu arikukonzeresa kuti nditambure (this person is the one causing my suffering.”
Witnesses say Muchaya made a comment blaming the President for his current struggles. Muchaya denies the accusation and maintains his innocence. Nonetheless, prosecutors pursued the case vigorously, arguing his statements were unlawful and abusive.
He was represented by Chris Ndlovu of ZLHR and Takunda Musara of Gonese Ndlovu Legal Practitioners. After a full month in pre-trial detention, a local magistrate finally granted him bail last week. However, the charges have not been dropped and Muchaya must return to court on October 19th to face the allegations.
His lawyers believe the charge and length of remand imprisonment were unjustified and constituted an overreach.