A HARARE police officer, who allegedly insulted President Robert Mugabe, saying he was “too old to rule and is married to a prostitute”, yesterday applied that his matter be referred to the Constitutional Court.
BY PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
Thompson Joseph Mloyi (44) is attached to the riot squad based at Cranborne Barracks.
Mloyi, through his lawyer, David Hofisi, yesterday denied the charges of undermining the authority of or insulting the President and sought to be acquitted, arguing the charge did not disclose an offence.
Hofisi argued that indeed Mugabe, at 92, was old and the Constitution says people above 70 are elderly and even judges in Zimbabwe retire at 70 and all workers are pensioned off when they reach the age of 60.
He also argued that the offence created by section 32 of the Criminal Law (Reform and Codification) Act only suffices if the statement is false.
However, prosecutor, Francesca Mukumbiri insisted that calling someone “too old” implied hostility towards that person.
She also argued that reading the statement “President Robert Mugabe is too old to rule and he married a prostitute, Grace Mugabe” in its context would show that the speaker was insulting the Head of State.
Presiding magistrate, Tendai Mahwe upheld the prosecution’s argument and ruled the accused was properly charged.
At that juncture, the defence changed tact and applied for the matter to be referred to the Constitutional Court, arguing the offence infringed on Mloyi’s freedom of expression, as espoused by section 61 of the Constitution.
Mloyi is currently out of custody on $100 bail.