A GWANDA man accused of insulting President Robert Mugabe has been remanded out of custody to July 28 for sentence after the presiding magistrate threw out an earlier application for discharge.
Bassanio Chikwiriri, a builder by p
rofession, is alleged to have insulted President Mugabe by saying that he was the “architect of the country’s economic crisis”.
Chikwiriri appeared before Gwanda magistrate, Douglas Zvenyika, on Tuesday and was remanded out of custody to Friday for trial. The lawyer representing Chikwiriri, Thompson Mabhikwa, applied to the court for discharge arguing that the state had no prima facie case against his client.
However, the magistrate dismissed the application and set a date for trial.
“The application we filed to have my client discharged was thrown out by the magistrate and we now have to return to court for a trial on 28 July,” Mabhikwa said.
The state’s case is that on September 24 last year at the Talk of Gwanda restaurant and nightclub, Chikwiriri made derogatory remarks about Mugabe in Shona. Chikwiriri was arrested in October last year. He denies uttering the said words and also denies the charges against him.
In his defence, Chikwiriri said the allegations were false and that they emanated from local Zanu PF officials whom he said were at loggerheads with him.
In Zimbabwe it is a crime punishable by either imprisonment or a heavy fine to insult the president.
Under provisions of the draconian Public Order and Security Act it is also an offence to make gestures at the president or his motorcade.
Chikwiriri said he was arrested after he refused to be part of builders in the government-funded Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle exercise, a move he says angered Zanu PF officials in the district and led them to fabricate the insult story. — Staff Writer.