Two students from Masvingo Polytechnic facing charges of undermining the authority of President Robert Mugabe after they were caught watching a satirical movie depicting his assassination have been acquitted for lack of incriminating evidence.
However, Masvingo magistrate Stan Mambanje reserved judgment for the third female student, Monalisa Katsaruware, as she failed to attend court due to family problems.
The three were arrested in February this year after they were found watching the movie, Strike Back Zimbabwe, on a laptop at Masvingo Polytechnic College campus.
It was alleged the three were likely to engender feelings of hostility, hatred and ridicule or contempt towards President Mugabe.
However, the magistrate said the State had failed to prove essential elements necessary to secure conviction.
“The State failed to adduce evidence which is solely and firstly reliable for the court to convict,” Mambanje said in his ruling.
Earlier on, the students’ lawyer, Collin Maboke, had argued the owner of the laptop, Nyasha Chambiruka, was found watching the movie alone in his private college room and did not mean to cause public despondency.
Maboke also argued the person assassinated in the movie was not President Mugabe but someone portraying his image.