A POLICE constable Taison Hove (30) stationed at the Lupane Police Station, who is accused of insulting President Emmerson Mnangagwa, was convicted by the police disciplinary court and sentenced to 14 days in detention.
This was confirmed by his lawyer Bruce Masamvu yesterday.
Masamvu said Hove was convicted at a disciplinary court presided over by a Superintendent Mutepfe.
“Hove has been convicted at police trial and sentenced to 14 days in detention and ordered to pay a fine of $300. He was convicted for saying Mnangagwa has failed and ‘our salary is now equivalent to US$100 only’,” Masamvu said.
Prior to the conviction, Hove had applied for discharge citing violation of his right to free expression and that the State had failed to prove a prima facie case against him.
However, the disciplinary court dismissed his application for discharge and ruled that he should proceed to trial.
Masamvu said they would be appealing to Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga against the ruling.
“We will appeal. We gave notice to the Commissioner-General of Police on Thursday,” he said.
Hove was arrested for allegedly insulting Mnangagwa when he called for him to step down to pave way for the opposition MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa.
He was arrested at Lupane business centre on January 3, 2019, and also accused of having said Zanu-PF regalia was only fit for people working in the agricultural fields when he saw a ruling party supporter wearing one.
Hove was summoned by the prosecution to appear before a Lupane magistrate in early 2019, but the matter was placed off remand as the State was still waiting for the National Prosecution Authority’s consent to begin trial.
Allegations against Hove are that on January 3, 2019, he was drinking beer with other patrons when a certain man passed by putting on a Zanu-PF T-shirt emblazoned with Mnangagwa’s picture.
When Hove saw the man, he allegedly said such clothing should only be worn by one going to tend to the fields.
Mnangagwa, he allegedly said, had failed to run the country and, as such, he should hand over power to Chamisa.
Some patrons then reported him to the police, leading to his arrest.
Denying the charges, Hove said the State’s case against him did not disclose an offence justifiable in a democratic society. He described the charges as frivolous and vexatious.
Hove submitted that he was charged with contravening section 35 of the schedule of the Police Act Chapter 11:10 and said the evidence led by the State witnesses during the hearing did not show that he committed an offence.
The police disciplinary court gathered evidence in chief from Hlelenje Ncube.
Other witnesses who testified against Hove were Innocent Mkhwananzi, Sibangani Silwangani and Tongai Tayisi, who all testified that Hove had insulted Mnangagwa.