HARARE magistrate Dennis Mangosi Saturday granted $3 000 bail to a Zimbabwe Republic Police junior officer who was arrested Friday for insulting President Emmerson Mnangagwa after sending an “ED Must Go” WhatsApp message.
Milton Murairwa, who is stationed at Harare Central Police, allegedly sent the message via a WhatsApp group to which he and some Mbare police officers are members.
Murairwa was represented in court by Moses Nkomo from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
Nkomo told NewZimbabwe Saturday that Murairwa was charged with violating the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23.
“My client was charged for undermining the authority of the President as defined in section 33 (2) (a) (1) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23, alternatively, causing disaffection among Police or Defence Forces as defined in section 30 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23.”
As part of his bail conditions, Murairwa was ordered not to interfere with state witnesses and to continue residing at his given address.
He was remanded to the 30th of July 2020.
It is the state’s case that on 7 July 2020 at about 18:12hrs, Murairwa, who works under Harare Central Police’s PEC admin and also a member of Whatsapp group named ‘Mbare Family’, posted a message on the platform composed of police officers stationed at ZRP Mbare Police using his phone.
The message, according to prosecutors, read, “ED ne team yake must go, ndini Murairwa ndadaro, udzai vanhu vePI kana asingade kuenda ndoda kumuona (ED and his government must resign, tell that to the PI. If he does not want to go, I will see him in person).”
According to the state, by posting the above message, Murairwa “publicly and unlawfully intended to endanger feelings of hostility to the 46 members on the Mbare Family WhatsApp group against the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe in person or in respect of his office”.
Murairwa’s arrest on a Mnangagwa insult charge follows that of Shungudzemoyo Kache, another police officer last month.
The offence of “undermining the authority of or insulting the President” can land one in jail for a year.