A 53-year-old Beatrice farmer Jacqueline Millar has been acquitted on charges of allegedly insulting the Office of the President by labelling President Robert Mugabe a “satanist dictator” during a row over irrigation equipment with a newly-resettled farmer last year.
Millar had been charged with undermining the authority of or insulting President Mugabe.
But last Wednesday, Chitungwiza magistrate Lazini Ncube said the State had failed to prove a case against Millar.
“It is trite the State should prove a case beyond reasonable doubt against accused. However, in the present case the State did not prove the accused uttered or said the alleged words,” said Ncube before announcing Millar’s acquittal.
Allegations against Millar were that sometime in October last year, she met Abigail Zimbudzana and her cousin Owen Nyangura, who were laying irrigation pipes on their horticulture project on Plot 14, Dunluce Farm in Beatrice.
The farm used to belong to Millar and her husband Thomas, but part of it was allocated to resettled farmers including Zimbudzana’s husband, Wellington Nondo, under the land reform programme.
It was alleged Millar identified the irrigation pipes as hers and immediately confronted Zimbudzana and Nyangura accusing them of theft.
A heated exchange broke out and Millar allegedly challenged Zimbudzana to call “her dictator satanist President Mugabe” claiming that he too could not do anything to her.
The matter was reported to the police, leading to Millar’s arrest.
In her defence, Millar denied ever insulting or mentioning the President’s name on the day in question although she admitted exchanging harsh words with Zimbudzana.
She said instead, she was subjected to verbal attacks and threats by Zimbudzana and her relative who allegedly labelled her a “white b****”.
She further told the court the President’s name had been thrown into the matter by Zimbudzana in an attempt to turn the incident political.