Zim judge slams petty insult cases

By Drum Digital
01 November 2013

In Zimbabwe insulting the president can mean being hurled to a court.

However a Constitutional Court judge Luke Malaba has slammed lawyers for misusing the law.

He rebuked state prosecutors for abusing the country's controversial insult laws by bringing frivolous cases against critics of veteran leader Robert Mugabe, rights lawyers said.

Malaba "admonished" the prosecution authority against "prosecuting matters in which statements were uttered in drinking halls and other social places".

"The pursuit of such frivolous matters only serves to bring disrespect to the office of the president," according to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

Dozens of cases, including one involving a university lecturer who was prosecuted for labelling Mugabe "a rotten old donkey", have been heard in the country's courts. Around 80 similar cases are still outstanding.

The judge made the comments in a ruling in a case brought by Tendai Danga who challenged the constitutionality of the law under which he was arrested two years ago during an argument with a policeman in a bar.

During the argument he said: "Who is Mugabe? Fuck you, fuck the president."

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