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by MARCUS MUSHONGA
HARARE, (CAJ News) – MORE than 200 Zimbabweans have fallen foul to draconian legislation invoked to charge individuals allegedly insulting or undermining the authority of President Robert Mugabe.
Human rights groups said there had been an increase in such cases in recent months ahead of next year’s elections.
The bulk of the victims are residents and villagers residing in the politically volatile Mashonaland Central Province.
The Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act is mostly invoked.
However, most cases have been withdrawn in court for lack of evidence.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has been withdrawing charges and declining prosecution.
In the most recent case, courts have set free an opposition politician challenging his prosecution for allegedly undermining authority of and insulting the aged leader.
Themba Nyoni (49), a politician from Gwanda in Matabeleland South province, had filed an application in the Constitutional Court seeking an order declaring his prosecution unconstitutional.
He was arrested in January for allegedly proclaiming Mugabe (93) was too old and should consider stepping down from his position as the leader of the country he has led since 1980.
Mugabe, hailed for liberating his country from British colonialism, and his Zanu-PF party are accused of wrecking the Southern African country’s vibrant economy.
– CAJ News