Chigumba insult tweet ‘convict’ changes plea

A 25-YEAR-OLD Chitungwiza man, who on Wednesday pleaded guilty and was convicted of criminal insult after retweeting a message from a ghost account named after Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec)chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba, yesterday changed his plea.

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

Night Tawona Shadaya, who was expected to be sentenced yesterday by magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa claimed he made the initial plea under duress.

After his conviction, Shadaya engaged Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights lawyers who filed a notice before the court saying he was pressured to plead guilty.

The ZLHR lawyers told court that they perused Shadaya’s docket plea, but could not find details of whether the Twitter account in the name of Chigumba was fake or real.

They further told court that there is no charge on what Shadaya did because he merely repeated what the complainant had posted in the Twitter account.

The State represented by Peter Kachirika did not oppose the postponement of the sentencing of Shadaya.

Magistrate Mugwagwa postponed the matter to October 16.

It is alleged that sometime in August this year, an unknown person created a Twitter account in the name of Justice Chigumba and tweeted a message which read: “I can’t wait for the elections fiasco to come to an end. I could do with a holiday and some good sex. My body needs a break.”

The court heard that in the same month, Shadaya retweeted the message, thereby seriously impairing Chigumba’s dignity.

Chigumba was alerted by a friend who saw the message. The court heard the Zec boss does not own the Twitter account in question.


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