VIVA Zimbabwe leader William Mutumanje, alias Acie Lumumba, who is accused of insulting President Robert Mugabe, has successfully re-applied for his matter to be referred to the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) following the State’s decision to recharge him after it had earlier undertaken to withdraw the case.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Harare magistrate Nomsa Sabarauta ruled that there had been an unreasonable delay in the determination of the matter because the State had reneged on its commitment to withdraw charges.
“The accused person explained the mental anguish and material prejudice he had suffered as an international consultant and political leader. While the State is dominus litis, they must act in accordance with the Constitution. Thus, it is crucial to know when the State’s conduct amounts to undermining the courts,” Sabarauta said.
“The court found that the request for referral was neither frivolous nor vexatious and so I referred the matter to the ConCourt.” Lumumba had argued that proceeding to trial was contrary to his right to a fair trial and administrative justice and also contrary to the rule of law.
The ConCourt will determine whether Lumumba can now have his challenge to section 33 of the Criminal Law Code (insulting the President) determined.
Lumumba had told the court that the delay by the State to proceed with the matter had prejudiced him in his business and political career.
He further told the court that the State was not clear on how to move forward with the matter since he had been on remand for almost 13 months.
Lumumba’s lawyer David Hofisi also told court that the ConCourt must be approached to determine whether or not the conduct of the State, in choosing to ignore its commitment to withdraw charges in the ConCourt on May 24 this year, was constitutionally valid.
Oscar Madhume appeared for the State.