Fresh charges against artist

The trial of Owen Maseko, a Bulawayo-based artist, failed to take off Sunday at Bulawayo’s Tredgold Building courts after the state brought fresh charges against him.

The artist was initially charged for undermining the authority of the President and for causing discomfort to people of a particular race, tribe, ethnicity and religion.

The charges arose after Maseko exhibited paintings depicting the Gukurahundi atrocities at the Bulawayo Art Gallery.

The state, represented by Tawanda Zvekare said Maseko was now being charged for publishing or communicating false statements with the intention of inciting hatred or violence and an alternative charge of undermining the authority of the President.

Maseko appeared before Magistrate Ntombizodwa Mazhandu.

However, Maseko’s defence lawyer, Lizwe Jamela from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (Zlhr) objected to the trial taking off arguing the accused was not aware of the new charges brought against him.

“The State is now presenting a new set of charges altogether from the initial ones which the accused was initially arrested for and has been coming to court for,” Jamela said.

“Therefore, it would be prejudicial for the accused if he was now asked to answer to two sets of charges presented to him.”

Jamela said the State had not given any justification or procedure for laying new charges against Maseko.

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