Mnangagwa-insulting cop seeks acquittal

BY SILAS NKALA

A LUPANE-BASED police officer, who was arrested for allegedly insulting President Emmerson Mnangagwa and calling on him to step down in favour of opposition MDC leader Nelson Chamisa has filed an application for discharge at the police disciplinary court.

Taison Hove (29), arrested at Lupane business centre on January 3, is also alleged to have scoffed at the Zanu PF regalia saying it was only fit for people tending agricultural fields.

Hove’s lawyer, Bruce Masamvu said his client was summoned to appear before a Lupane magistrate early this year, but the matter is currently awaiting the National Prosecution Authority’s consent to begin trial.

Hove is also facing police disciplinary action, which has been ongoing since his arrest in January.

Yesterday, Masamvu said he had filed an application for discharge at the police disciplinary court on grounds that the charges violated his rights and lacked evidence.

In an application dated May 2, Hove submitted that he was charged with contravening section 35 of the schedule to the Police Act, Chapter 11:10, but he is denying the charge.
Proceedings have been ongoing before the disciplinary committee hearing officer.

Hove said, on the basis of his application and evidence led by the State witnesses during the hearing, it does not show that he committed the offence.

“The State has failed to establish a prima facie case against the accused person. The State has failed to adduce evidence upon which a reasonable court may convict the accused person. The State failed to prove an essential element of the offence. The State, at this stage — for this application to succeed, has failed to prove even just one element of the offence,” Hove submitted.

The disciplinary court presided over by a Superintendent Mudepfa, had gathered evidence-in-chief from Hlelenje Ncube, who told the disciplinary court that Hove saw a person wearing a Zanu PF T-shirt and said it must be worn at the farms and not in town.

“The accused also said the President is starving him,” Ncube said, indicating that Hove also insulted the President using unprintable words.

Other witnesses who testified against Hove were Innocent Mkhwananzi, Sibangani Silwangani and Tongai Tayisi, who echoed the same story that Hove insulted Mnangagwa.

Hove in his application said although all the witnesses pointed to the claim that he insulted Mnangagwa, all of them had different wording versions of the insults which they heard from him and they were not corroborating each other’s evidence.

“At the end, it is impossible for the court — based on the evidence so far put before it, to convict the accused person. In fact, as the matter stands right now, the accused needs not to say anything in his defence in order to be acquitted, because the State has completely failed to show that there is a prima facie case against the accused,” he submitted.
Masamvu said the ruling on the application will be made on Friday.

Allegations are that on January 3 this year, Hove was drinking beer with other patrons, when a certain man passed by putting on a Zanu PF T-shirt emblazoned with Mnangagwa’s picture.
When Hove saw the man, he allegedly said such clothing should only be worn by one going to tend to the fields.

He reportedly further said Mnangagwa had failed to run the country and, as such, he should hand over power to Chamisa.

“We are suffering because of ED Mnangagwa and we are paid money equivalent to US$100,” Hove is alleged to have said.

Some patrons then reported him to the police, leading to his arrest.

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