MDC-T MP to spend Christmas in jail


MDC-T Women’s League organising secretary Lynette Karenyi will spend Christmas in custody for allegedly branding President Robert Mugabe “gay” at a rally in her constituency on December 9 this year.

Although Karenyi was yesterday granted bail, the State immediately invoked section 121 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, thereby blocking her release from custody. She is expected to appeal to the High Court within seven days.

Karenyi (36) — who is also Chimanimani West MP — appeared before Mutare magistrate Noah Gwatidzo on Monday for initial remand, but bail application was pronounced yesterday.

She is facing charges of undermining the authority of or insulting the President, after she allegedly said President Mugabe practiced homosexuality with Zanu PF Tsholotsho North MP Jonathan Moyo and the late former President Canaan Banana.

It is alleged on December 9 this year at a campaign rally in her constituency at Nhedziwa, Karenyi said: “(President) Robert Mugabe of Zanu PF had sex with Jonathan Moyo and (Canaan) Banana.”

The State alleges the statements were “reckless and malicious”.

In his ruling, Gwatidzo granted the MP bail of $200 saying the State had failed to prove she was a flight risk. He also ordered her to continue residing at her given address and not to interfere with witnesses.

“The pre-trial incarceration of the accused was like punishment before conviction because the State failed to prove the accused is a flight risk. The conduct of the accused is not consistent with being a flight risk,” the magistrate said.

She handed herself to police on Monday before she was taken to court.

Smiles and cheer gripped the packed gallery of MDC-T MPs and supporters after she was granted bail.
However, prosecutor Truman Joma invoked section 121 saying he had instructions from the chief law officer to do so.

But defence lawyer David Tandire said the action by the State was unjustifiable stating there was no basis to invoke section 121.

“The State did not advance any cogent reason to further remand the accused. I suspect they won’t appeal to the High Court because they cannot raise a meaningful argument against Karenyi,” Tandire said.