Mugabe insults flood courts

The number of people, mostly ordinary Zimbabweans, who are being arrested for allegedly insulting President Robert Mugabe has swollen significantly in recent months.

Report by Tangai Chipangura,Deputy Editor

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) alone are representing over 50 individuals who have been dragged to court for calling Mugabe all sorts of names in anger, frustration, excitement or in jest.

Some political observers and commentators have attributed the development to growing resentment of the 88-year-old leader by his subjects, who blame him for their individual predicaments.

But other analysts blamed it on the overzealousness of the law enforcement agents who arrest the offenders, hence bringing the otherwise “common and insignificant” insults out into the public domain.

ZLHR communications officer Kumbirai Mafunda yesterday said his organisation was concerned about the growing number of arrests involving the alleged undermining of the authority of the President.

He said the fact that the human rights lawyers were representing over 50 fairly recent cases was indicative of a likelihood there were many more similar cases around the country which his organisation might not be aware of.

Ironically, according to ZLHR statistics a Mugabe insults, Mashonaland Central, the bastion of his Zanu PF party, topped the list of cases of people that have allegedly called Mugabe names.

Political analyst Alexander Rusero said the increase in the alleged insults had various reasons to it, one of which was repressive laws enacted by Mugabe’s successive administrations.

The other dimension, he said, was an indication of the growing frustration among the people of Zimbabwe over the current leadership which they found to have overstayed and responsible for their maladies.

“The implications are multi-dimensional. It is, on one hand, indicative of the problems that we have with the redundant laws of an old regime,” he said.

“The President occupies that office by virtue of his being a politician and should, therefore, be open to criticism in a democracy.This situation where we have people arrested over a slight slip of the tongue is wrong.”

“Political opponents should be free to say their minds about the President for the purpose of winning votes.”

The more worrying scenario, however, he said, was the growing number of cases of insulting the President, an indicator of deepening frustration among the people or hate of the leader.

“This is a case where the centre no longer holds. The increase in the contempt of the national leader may be indicative of rising frustration of the ordinary person,” Rusero said.

“They are amplified messages being sent to the President where you find simple villagers being bold enough to insult the person of the President without fear of the consequences, or where drunkards act in such insultive ways as tearing up images of the President or pelting his portraits.”

Another political commentator, Ibbo Mandaza, attributed the growing trend to overzealousness of the law-enforcing agents. He said cases where presidents were insulted by their subjects were common and should not be seen as unique to Zimbabwe.

“Presidents the world over are prone to public banter and political jokes. That’s the reality of politics. The problem is that our authorities are overzealous. Look, even in the United States, President Barack Obama was subjected to even racial insults. There is, however, need for careful distinction between outright insults and political jest.”

Mafunda said cases of people being arrested for such offences had increased since 2010.

The lawyers have since referred some of the cases to the Supreme Court where they are challenging the constitutionality of the sections of the law under which the people are being charged. Police use Section 33 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, which deals with “undermining the authority of or insulting the President”.

Among the people arrested is a Chiredzi man who, while drinking in some beer-hall, allegedly threw missiles at Mugabe’s portrait, apparently angry that he was jobless despite being educated.

Nyanga North MP Douglas Mwonzora, who is also MDC-T spokesperson, was arrested in March 2009 and charged for allegedly likening Mugabe to a goblin while addressing a rally.

Meanwhile, Energy and Power Development minister Elton Mangoma was yesterday summoned to appear before a Bindura magistrate on Tuesday next week on charges of insulting Mugabe. The minister was served with the summons at his government offices by two detectives from Bindura.

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47 Comments

  1. why mainsulters a vamugabe awanda?it shows that something is wrong somewhere,so to hell with it.

    1. why cant we hve manners ourselves and those manners can be emulated by US as well. Its time to preach peace dzimwe nyaya dzamuri kutsvaga ndedze kudenha. Kana uchituka President wenyika ko kuzoti mumwewo munhu wauchaitirana naye argument dzepolitics unofunga kuti achaenda kumatare here kana kuti anokurova ipapo. Saka pepa rino ngarirege kutanga nehondo. U dont want us to hve peaceful elections.

      1. Warthog your name says it all i rest my case

  2. Let’s leave the issues of insulting one another to the dogs.

  3. If someone insults you it means usudeleleka tshiya to avoid further insults

  4. Like the analysts have said, there seem to be two sides to the whole issue. Firstly,people could be fed up with Cde R.G.M’s unproductive long and tight grip on power attributed to the socio-economic woes we are facing. This translates to bread and butter issues which by nature are emotional. Such cases in this view exhibit an out-burst resulting in a form of socio-economic pressure they have failed to handle. They could have lost emotional elasticity and have reached their break-up point. These are just social indicators showing widespread hopelessness and frustration. Secondly, it’s the legal side where these cases are begging answers to the fairness and practicality of some of the clauses incorporated into the current national constitution and probably confirming the need for a better one.

  5. We can all be frustrated with this and that ,but we need to appreciate our culture kuti8 munhu ngaaremekedzwe sezvaari. The problem we are having as a people is that everything is now judged in terms of politics.

    Uyezve we are now judges ourselves, which l think is wrong. Let God finish his own creation.

    1. Our culture does not apply to Gukurahundis!

      1. Yes, Gukurahundi cannot be joked about. A reasonable person knows where to end with his/her humour. We cannot laugh about that massacre. If someone kills my mother or father and jokes about it, I will fight that person until I die, with whatever method. Mr Mugabe said of old man Josh and Gukurahundi: ‘When a snake comes into your house, you chop its head off.’ (Kana nyoka yapinda mumba mako, unoigura musoro).

      2. Iwe Mbonisi you must research more on the issue of gukurahundi before just vomiting ignorance! What was the cause and how did it end with Umudala wethu still alife?

        1. @Nhongonhema
          Its you who needs to do some research – even your command of languages shows that you may not be that successful in your research. What is “Umudala”? what does “still alife” mean? If that is not vomiting ignorance, I really don’t know what it is.

          1. Gukurahundi was cause by Mugabe’s intention to establish a one-party state; which he could not do without eliminating PF ZAPU; and

          2. Gukurahundi ended with the signing of the so-called Unity pact by Nkomo under duress.

          This is the truth regarding Gukurahundi, if you didn’t know, not the propaganda you grew up being force-fed!!

    2. Ivo vaMugabe vacho hava tukewo vamwe here? Tirikungo dzidza kubva kwavari. Musade kungosapota zvese zvese, remember him calling tsvangirayi chematama. He even went to the extent of laughing when tsvangirai was brutally beaten by police. Saka mutsevene ndiani wekuti tingateedzere.

      1. taura zvako guy.rudhara urwu rwunotaura semunhu asina kupinda chikoro kana rwaada kutuka vamwe. do you ever think he deserves to be elevated to the level of a demi-god.we pay him in his coin.period!

  6. iye anongotukwa asi zvaita sure here anemunyama udziyi,tingati munyama here iye aripresident!!!,kutadza basa uku

  7. if i am responsible for voting someone into his/her position it means that i can say one or two things about his/her performance

    1. True, ko iwe ndiye wega chete anongoyukwa kuti akaita sei. He must take self introspection.

    2. Not to say chifa as Mangoma said.

  8. There’s a 3rd side to it, macio awandisa.

  9. John weku Mabvuku

    Hon Mangoma and others like him thrive on generating hate politics, its a psychopathic condition that pervades many politicians.If in positions of power they can plunge a nation into severe polarisation, intolerance and ultimately war. Yes, like Germany’s Hitler.Where else have we heard chanting of death slogans…its so pathetic. We can be of different political persuasion but hatred is too strong a feeling. Its like killing someone because he/she supports Highlanders or Monoz. Ngatikurei vakomana.

  10. He is a Gukurahundi, he deserves to be insulted. As we speak, can anyone out there name one President or Prime Minister in the world, who is 89-years old?

    So, why does he expect no insults when he is an exception to all humanity right across the globe?? He has aksed for it – now, he should take it like the tough man he claims to be!!

    1. You are MuDzviti you deserve to insulted.

  11. hatifaniri kutuka president kana priminister wedu asi tinofanira kuita critisise where necessary.they must also accept to be critisised when they are wrong

  12. BOB HAS OVERSTAYED HIS WELCOME, LIKE A VISITOR UNOMBOURAYIRWAWO HUKU FIRST DAY BUT WITH OVERSTAYING UNOPEDZISIRA WODYA NE MUNYIVHI. READ THE SIGNS BOB.. PACK YOUR FILTHY BAGS AND GIVE SPACE TO OTHER COMPETENT GUYS.

    1. good, give the old goblin some refreshing insight.

    2. Uri mwana wevhu remuno munyika here iwe? The very soil you name yourself after is under threat and Mugabe is the best fighter for that war and is still a wanted visitor as you want it to be said.

  13. One cannot apportion the title “Man” to someone who clearly does not have the attributes of one. Cowards and persons with distorted personality disorders are intolerant of anyone having a different opinion to them and cannot abide being treated with contempt or disdain… You see this in children who have this tendency and hide under mothers skirt when retaliation and punishment follow bad behaviour. They cannot stand for themselves so have others do it for them. Pathetic and abhorrable creatures!

  14. Well said… Bob Chibva.. Bob Chisa… Bob Chifa..Bob tsamaya..

    1. Mental disorder in your mind now Mwana wevhu! Enda kuchipofita TB Josh pachiri pedo.

  15. The same words you use to propel hate speech, those same words will haunt us in our children tommorrow. Remember, they are listening and watching. The overzealous attitude didnt just come, vanhu varikuwachisana using the presidium. HATE SPEECH, IN WHATEVER FORM IS DANGEROUS GUYS, VERY DANGEROUS. Its the reason why mashefu varikuwirirana isu tega tichiurayana.

  16. Natural zimbabweans are people with some great respect, for them to start conducting themeselves IN THIS MANNER means there is somethin that there are not happy with. I am not condoning insults but they will continue to be there if we do not address the root cause, arresting people is not the solution, address the root cause and the insults will stop.

  17. Politic is a dirty game ka maface angu.Unotuka mumwe orwadziwa but akakubata okurovawo.Ndopane hudirty pacho.Uyu haangangotukwe zvongopera zvakadero kana kuti ongorohwa zvopera zvakadaro.aiwaka.Politics dzikasarovana nekutukana dzaclean politics.

    Vanofunga kuti vacharamba vachidai vanaRobert,zvichapera and achazorwadziwawo takurova vanaChatunga pasina zvavaita.

  18. If at times I would insult my own mother – mildly – then I have every right to thouroughly insult an incompetent president whoes mediocrity makes my life miserable. Moreover thats the only way to get back at him especially if he steals our votes and prevents us from demostrating against him.

  19. vanhu vazhinji vanotukaka tsvangirai asi hapana watakambonzwa kuti asungwa. grace aimutuka asi haana kumbosungwa

  20. Hahaaaa…i like the third dimension according to Tete’s Own. Pachishona zvinonzi, ”Gudo guru peta muswe vadiki vakutye” Vakuru vairaswo. Remember respect is earned.

  21. What we know is that President Mugabe is himself a great abuser of the language of insulting others. He has called Tsvangirai all sorts of names, including calling him ‘a mangy dog, a tea boy, a white man’s poodle’ all sorts of insults. Does someone want to take Mugabe to court for unconstitutionally having the right to insult others while they cannot insult back? Until such time that Mugabe stops insulting others and abusing the law to protect his own insults to others, people of Zimbabwe will insult him back in so many ways that he will not believe how much he is hated.

    As a way of protesting Mugabe’s law, Zimbabweans should go to the police in large numbers to tell the police that they dreamt insulting the president so they would like to be jailed.

  22. Dindingwe rinonaka richakweva rimwe, kana iro rokwebwa roti mavara angu azare vhu.(The cheeter enjoys dragging another animal in the mud, but when its turn comes to be dragged, it complains about how its colourful spots are being soiled) The man enjoys insulting others, but when he is insulted, he gets angry as if he is the only one with feelings.

    After all, anyone who does not want to be insulted should never hold public office. Even in the villages of Africa, old people are the subject of much humour and laughter. But the good thing is that they also joke back at the young. Mr Mugabe must learn to face the humour of our country, and avoid making everyone as dry and empty of humour as himself. We laugh all the time and it is our democratic right to laugh at life, including the life of our leaders.

  23. Can anyone tell me how many shona people where killed by MaDzviti. ( Ndebeles killing Shonas )

    1. They 4got what they did. Perhaps they are better humans than ‘masvina’

    2. Ask sekuru vako and will tell you clearly kuti nguva yemaDzviti yaiva yakaita sei. He may tell you the approximate number just like the Gukurahundi issue being over said by the people affected.

    3. @chino
      Before the 1930s there were no people called Shona. All the so-called Shona people don’t even know what that word SHONA means!!

  24. mugabe wacho mutuki mukuru.kangani vachituka morgan.we want peace especial pama elections.i waz inspired by america.i wish kti dai tazviitawo.chakanaka chakanaka

  25. Come kiss my ass Bob. All your generation are dead but you are spook day and night its like a bad dream that does not go away

    1. does the law of the land awards Gukurahundi Mugabe the ‘right’ to insult other citizens?

  26. The Ndebeles under King Mzilikazi and then Lobengula regarded the Shonas as their raiding ground and took our cattle, our beautiful sisters and the strongest young men. Our fore fathers would hide in caves when the madzvitis come. Was any litigation laid against the Ndebeles, heeeee? Saka mave kuve Gukurahundi gukurahundi kuita sei kwacho.
    Was he not the one Lobengula, who sold Mashonaland to the whites and reserved the Matebeleland to his kith and kins? Was he not the one Lobengula, who.. nxa zibenzi !!!!!

    1. Police are abusing their powers. I was arrested for commenting on Police raiding women the chicken they were selling National. The women were scurryng for cover on a busy road and they were lucky no one was run over. It turned out the meat was for their Christmas party. My crime was that i simply said Cant they be caareful about it and i was immidietly arrested for insulting the office of the president. I was thoroughly beaten at Stodart Police station. They broke my expensive glasses which up to now i cannot replace. I had to bribe my way out as i could not spend Christmas in the cells.

    2. @sir t
      Where you there? Did you see that happening?

  27. uMgabe liGukurahundi, he should always be insulted and that should happen a thousand times daily!!

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