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NRZ clerk not guilty of Mugabe insult

Politics
MUTARE magistrate acquitted a 36-year-old National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) clerk who had been on trial on charges of insulting President Robert Mugabe.

A MUTARE magistrate yesterday acquitted a 36-year-old National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) clerk who had been on trial on charges of insulting President Robert Mugabe.

Staff Reporter

Nicholas Manditsera was charged last week after he was arrested in September for contravening Section 33 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly uttering unprintable insults referring to Mugabe and his family.

However, the magistrate acquitted Manditsera after ruling that there were several inconsistences between the two State witnesses who testified during the trial, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said.

He was represented by Peggy Mapfumo of ZLHR.

“In his defence, Manditsera, who denied uttering the offensive words charged that (Ronzerai) Murenje (Manditsera’s supervisor) was out to fix him by bringing up the insult charges as there was a long standing acrimony between the two NRZ employees,” the lawyers said.

“The NRZ employee also argued that he objected to being supervised by his superior while at a bottle store.”

The magistrate said it was curious that witness statements were only recorded from Murenje and his unidentified relative and not from the other revellers who were present at Njanji bottle store where the offence is alleged to have been committed.

The magistrate said what was before the court was Manditsera’s word against that of the State witnesses and as such the court was left wondering who to believe.

The magistrate also said owing to discrepancies between the testimonies of the two State witnesses, Manditsera’s defence was probably true and as such the court acting carefully, could not convict the NRZ passenger clerk.

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