HomeNewsF word rant Lumumba scores victory in Mugabe slur case

F word rant Lumumba scores victory in Mugabe slur case

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VIVA Zimbabwe president, William Gerald Mutumanje, popularly known as Acie Lumumba, yesterday scored a victory in the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) against the State in a matter in which he was challenging the constitutionality of his arrest on charges of insulting and denigrating President Robert Mugabe.

BY CHARLES LAITON

Acie Lumumba
Acie Lumumba

Lumumba’s victory came about when the Prosecutor-General’s Office indicated it was not prepared to argue the matter, but was waiting to withdraw charges on June 12 this year. This prompted Lumumba’s lawyer to withdraw the ConCourt application.

Lumumba was, early last year, arrested and accused of undermining Mugabe’s authority following his utterances allegedly denigrating and insulting the 93-year-old Zanu PF leader while announcing the formation of his political party.

But as the matter was set to be argued before the full ConCourt bench led by Chief Justice Luke Malaba, Lumumba’s lawyer, Advocate Zvikomborero Chadambuka, who was being instructed by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights member, David Hofisi, told the court the matter was no longer proceeding to be argued, as the State intended to withdraw charges against his client.

Chadambuka then made an application to have the matter removed from the roll pending the withdrawal of the charges, but Chief Justice Malaba declined to accept the position, saying such a move would cause a backlog of uncompleted matters at the instance of the applicant.

“It is the applicant (Lumumba) who is running the show and the matter cannot just remain and be put aside like that. It’s either the applicant withdraws the matter here, so that you can go by the promise of the State (to withdraw the charges). We don’t want cases being removed from the roll because they remain pending cases,” the judge said, asking prosecutor Edmore Nyazamba to confirm the stated position.

In his response, Nyazamba confirmed the State had decided to withdraw the matter after going through a similar matter involving MDC-T secretary-general, Douglas Mwonzora, which was decided by the same court.

“I do confirm the position as indicated by the applicant’s counsel (Chadambuka). Applicant (Lumumba) will appear in the magistrates’ court on June 12 and by that date we will have committed our position,” Nyazamba said.

Asked by Justice Paddington Garwe why the State had taken that position, Nyazamba said: “We were compelled by the Mwonzora case, which has a bearing on the nature of the evidence that was to be led during trial.”

Nyazamba’s response then sealed the matter, as Justice Malaba announced the withdrawal.

“By consent, the matter is removed from the roll for the reasons that it has been withdrawn. There will be no order as to costs,” he said.

During his trial last year, which was stayed pending the determination of the ConCourt application, Lumumba denied the allegations against him, arguing he only expressed himself.

Lumumba also told the court he had the right to share his expressions about Mugabe as they were both political party leaders.

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