A HARARE magistrate yesterday dismissed an application for refusal of further remand filed by Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s self-confessed ally, Energy Mutodi, who is facing charges of undermining President Robert Mugabe’s authority.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Mutodi had challenged the State that the charge and facts do not disclose an offence and consequently the arrest, detention and remand, saying it would be a gross violation of his right to protection and freedom of expression.
However, provincial magistrate Josephine Sande dismissed the application, saying the court had to balance the State’s concern and his freedom of expression by allowing Mutodi to stand trial on the allegations.
“As the court, we cannot turn a blind eye that the statement was a political issue, but we need to balance the State’s concerns and defence’s freedom of expression. Mutodi must face his actions in court,” Sande ruled.
Sande remanded the matter to September 29 for the furnishing of a trial date.
Mutodi was arrested after he posted an article on a social media site with the headline Why choosing a successor is a difficult job.
In the article, he allegedly said decision-making in succession issues had always been a problem among Africans resulting in civil wars, repetitive coups and economic turmoil.
He went on to give examples of Muammar Gaddafi (Libya), Laurent Gbabgo (Ivory Coast) and Idi Amin (Uganda), among others.
Mutodi has posted several articles in support of Mnangagwa in the fluid Zanu PF succession race.
Sebastian Mutizirwa appeared for the State.