By Everson Mushava
A SLUR on President Robert Mugabe’s advanced age landed a Bindura man in trouble after he reportedly told a fellow worker that he was “President Robert Mugabe’s baboon” and his mind was as old as that of the 91-year-old leader following an altercation over the accused’s wife.
Reuben Gatsi (36) of Wolf Farm in Bindura spent two nights in police detention on allegations of undermining the authority of or insulting the President as defined in Section 33 (2) (b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23.
This is despite the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) early in January scrapping the controversial insult law, saying it breached people’s rights.
According to the State outline, Gatsi had a misunderstanding with Joe Mbeva, the complainant, whom he had accused of having an affair with his wife.
Gatsi’s wife had gone to look for employment at Mbeva’s house and this did not go down well with the accused who claimed Mbeva was having an illicit affair with his wife.
An argument ensued which later led to Gatsi saying to Mbeva: “You are Mugabe’s baboons. I don’t work for the baboons. I work for the whites. Your brains are old like those of your old man Mugabe. Your Mugabe does not know how many bags of cement built this compound. You are all dogs.”
Mbeva reported the matter to the police who arrested Gatsi on April 12, before he appeared before the Bindura Magistrates’ Court on April 14.
He was later released after his lawyer, Ernest Bere, successfully applied that he be removed from remand on the basis that the State needed to first obtain the Prosecutor-General’s consent to prosecute the matter.
Bindura magistrate Tendayi Chifamba ruled that Gatsi be released because there was no tentative date for the trial, saying the State would proceed by way of summons.
Jena said: “It appears despite the latest remarks by the Constitutional Court in cases of a similar nature, the police are unrelenting in pursuing such matters even without strong legal basis.”
Over the past five years, more than 70 Zimbabweans people had been arrested and charged with insulting Mugabe.
The latest case, which triggered the ConCourt ruling, was the arrest of MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora for calling Mugabe a “goblin”.