THE Rastafarian community in Harare yesterday said they will continue mounting legal battles to force government to legalise mbanje (marijuana) smoking.
Report by Moses Matenga
Speaking during a memorial service of their departed member and self-proclaimed mbanje smoker Amos Mupfudza, who died in August while his Supreme Court challenge was still pending, a spokesperson for the community, who identified himself as Ancient Binghiman, yesterday vowed to pursue Mupfudza’s court case to finality.
Binghiman said their group, known as Dzimbadzemabwe Nayabinghi House of Rastafari, would this week meet lawyers to pursue the court case.
“Police brutalised him (Mupfudza) for possessing marijuana, we told him to continue the good fight. I wonder why police would brutalise a Rastafarian because a Rasta is a peaceful man.”
Mupfudza was arrested in January this year and allegedly tortured for possession of the drug and alleged in his challenge that the move infringed his constitutional rights. He was charged with three counts of contravening Section 157(i) (a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23.
Mupfudza had challenged the classification of mbanje as a dangerous drug and criminalisation of its possession, arguing his Rastafarian religion allowed him to partake of the drug.
In his submission pending at the Supreme Court, Mupfudza said: “Rastafarianism is a recognised religion. The Rastafarians consider dagga a holy herb which they use in a variety of forms in order to communicate with their Creator.
“The Rastafarians have a genuine constitutional entitlement to have their religious practices protected in the same manner as Christians, Jews or Muslims.”