WhatsApp comparing Mnangagwa to Ramaphosa sees man charged for insulting president
An MDC Alliance politician has been charged for insulting and undermining Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s efforts to fight Covid-19 by comparing him to his SA counterpart, President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Chrispen Rambu, a councillor for Ward 8 in Chipinge, was summoned by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to a police station where he was charged with insulting and undermining the authority of Mnangagwa as defined in section 33 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
The state accused him of denigrating Mnangagwa by allegedly forwarding a WhatsApp message reading: “Ramaphosa just announced R500bn SA stimulus package. Seeing him addressing and comparing him with ED [Mnangagwa] you won’t doubt that we are having a fool for a head of state”.
Rambu is represented by Mekias Gwamanda of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. He is expected to appear at Chipinge magistrate’s court on Saturday. If convicted, he could be sentenced to a year in prison.
Mnangagwa extended Zimbabwe’s national lockdown on Sunday by two weeks, ending on May 3.
Rambu is the second person to fall foul of the law in relation to Covid-19 after Lovemore Zvokusekwa, 36, from Chitungwiza, appeared before a Harare magistrate facing charges of “publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the state”, as defined by the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act. He is out on bail.
Meanwhile, at least 29 Zimbabweans living and working in the UK have succumbed to Covid-19. Most are health professionals.
“The embassy has been able to gather information from the diaspora community and religious leaders, cluster leaders, affected individuals, and the media, on Zimbabweans who have passed on due to Covid-19,” said Zimbabwe’s ambassador to the UK, Christian Katsande.
By Friday morning, 2,626 tests had been conducted countrywide with 25 positive cases detected, three deaths and two recoveries. Mnangagwa is expected to review the extended lockdown by May 3.