A youth leader from Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party has been thrown into remand prison for at least seven days for allegedly calling President Robert Mugabe a limping donkey.
MDC youth leader Solomon Madzore who was arrested at the weekend was Monday granted bail by a magistrate in the town of Bindura but his release was blocked by the State.
He will spend at least seven days during, which time the prosecutors can appeal against his $100 bail.
Mr Madzore, who last year spent several months in remand prison for allegedly murdering a policeman, allegedly insulted President Mugabe during a rally on April 27.
He allegedly said the veteran ruler was “a limping donkey who was making it difficult for Tsvangirai to rule properly in the unity government.”
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) on Tuesday said 60 Zimbabweans had been arrested and charged in the last three years for insulting President Mugabe.
ZHLR, a group of private lawyers who often represents victims of human rights abuses, said the law was being used selectively to target the 89 year-old leader’s opponents.
“It is disturbing to note an increase in the criminalisation of free speech through the abuse of insult laws, wherein ZLHR has recorded 60 cases in which Section 33 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act has been arbitrarily applied on individuals and charged with allegedly ‘insulting or undermining the authority of the President’ since 2010,” ZLHR said.
Several Cabinet ministers from the MDC have been arrested for allegedly insulting President Mugabe.
ZLHR has taken some of the cases to the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the insult laws.
Besides the insult laws, Zimbabwe has tough defamation and security laws that are regularly used to crush dissent.
Zimbabwe is preparing to hold general elections later this year and analysts predict that repression would worsen as the country edges closer to the polls.
By Africa Review
By Africa Review