HUMAN rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa yesterday rapped the State for “wrongly” addressing First Lady Grace Mugabe as “Her Excellency”, saying she was nowhere near the “excellency” status.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Mtetwa made the remarks while applying for the removal of her client, war veterans’ secretary-general Victor Matemadanda from remand in a case he is accused of insulting the authority of President Robert Mugabe.
“The State witness, Benius Murira, in his affidavit, stated that Matemadanda insulted Her Excellency Dr Grace Mugabe. Surely Your Worship, the First Lady is not Her Excellency,” Mtetwa said.
“The State must separate His Excellency the State President from other people. There is no provision for that in our Constitution.
“Matemadanda can criticise his party president, who is also his patron at the war veterans’ association and the facts in the State outline did not disclose any criticism directed at the President, but the First Lady, who is not the authority.”
Mtetwa said Matemadanda’s actions could not be criminalised, as he was exercising his right to freedom of expression.
She said when Mugabe is wearing his Zanu PF party garb, he is not protected from any criticism by members of his party and that constitutes unprotected criticism of the party president, not State President.
“The State is wasting your time, Your Worship, this is not a court of politics, but it’s a court of law.
“This court should not be used for people who want to push their political agendas,” Mtetwa said.
Matemadanda faces another charge of causing disaffection among security forces.
The State alleges that on July 29 and August 3, Matemadanda addressed journalists in Harare, where he made statements aimed at causing disaffection among defence forces and in the process criminally insulted Mugabe.