In Zimbabwe, insulting the president can land you in jail according to the Criminal law, codification and reform act. One man from Umguza got slapped with tough reality when he was recently arrested for insulting the president. Victor Majoni aged 35 got a tough call when he appeared before Bulawayo provincial magistrate Shepherd Mjanja last week. His offence, insulting/undermining the authority of the president. He was arrested by the police following a top off by an ardent Zanu Pf supporter and secretary for Administration youth league for Ward 8 one Remigious Komboni. The whistleblower later appeared in court as a witness.
The whole debacle started on Whatsapp. Komboni said Majoni had posted an insulting video on his whatsapp status a few days after the president had called for a national day of prayer and fasting for the country. Komboni testified that as he was going through WhatsApp statuses he came across an insulting video on Majoni’s WhatsApp. He later sent him a message warming him to remove the video. He said Majoni ignored his texts and he was forced to approach the councillor and member of parliament before proceed to the police. He also said Majoni claimed his nephew had posted the video.
Majoni’s lawyer however said Komboni was merely abusing his authority as someone with access to the member of parliament and councillor due to his position. He also claimed his client was innocent as he had not created the cartoon character in which the president was made fun of.
He was ordered to submit an application for discharge at the end of the state case. Many similar cases have come before the courts. While freedom of speech is nothing of a big deal in other countries, there seem to be restrictions in place locally.