ZLHR RESCUES WOMEN DETAINED FOR BOOING MNANGAGWA

ZLHR RESCUES WOMEN DETAINED FOR BOOING MNANGAGWA

108
0

NNE women have been rescued from detention after they were arrested last week and charged for allegedly booing First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa during her address at Watsomba Business Centre in Manicaland province, where they reportedly failed to access some freebies, which she was doling out as part of her charitable work.

The nine women namely Nester Chatiwana aged 41 years, Panashe Machekanzondo aged 19 years, Winnet Sithole aged 19 years, Maria Choto aged 49 years, Esnath Choto aged 33 years, Ellen Rujuwa aged 28 years, Faith Chidhakwa aged 30 years, Patience Matasva aged 35 years and Joyce Mashingaidza aged 29 years, were arrested by Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers on Wednesday 10 April 2024 at Watsomba Business Centre in Manicaland province and detained at Mutare Central Police Station, before being charged with disorderly conduct in a public place as defined in section 41(b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

In court, prosecutors claimed that the nine women, who reside in various villages located near Watsomba Business Centre stood up and disrupted Mnangagwa’s delivery of her speech by booing her as a way of showing their disgruntlement for not receiving some groceries and clothes, which she was doling out to people.

Prosecutors charged that the women, who were seated on the ground stood up and started booing the First Lady while she was making her closing remarks during her address intending to disrupt her speech and show disgruntlement that they had not received anything from her.

The behaviour allegedly exhibited by Chatiwana, Machekanzondo, Sithole, Choto, Choto, Rujuwa, Chidhakwa, Matasva and Mashingaidza, prosecutors said, was unlawful, abusive and insulting to Mnangagwa.

The nine women, who were represented by Tatenda Sigauke and David Tandiri of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), were released on Friday 12 April 2024 on free bail by Mutare Magistrate Prisca Manhibi, and will return to court on 30 April 2024.

In their defence, Chatiwana, Machekanzondo, Sithole, Choto, Choto, Rujuwa, Chidhakwa, Matasva and Mashingaidza, who deny the charges, argued that they were just targeted during a dragnet arrest after they opted to leave the venue early and during the time when Mnangagwa was still addressing people and before being dismissed.

The alleged booing of Mnangagwa is reminiscent of the heckling of former First Lady Grace Mugabe, who was jeered by some ruling ZANU PF political party youth supporters in November 2017 at White City stadium in Bulawayo, who were then prosecuted for insulting and undermining the late former president Robert Mugabe’s wife.

The heckling of the former First Lady irked his husband, who fingered President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who at the time served as his Vice President, for instigating the jeering of his wife.

The ZANU PF political party youths, who were represented by ZLHR, were later set free after prosecutors withdrew charges of insulting or undermining the former First Lady.

ENDS

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
Kodzero/Amalungelo House
No. 103 Sam Nujoma Street, Harare, Zimbabwe
Phone: (+263 8677005347, +263 242 764085/705370/708118
Email: info@zlhr.org
www.zlhr.org.zw
FOLLOW US:@ZLHRLAWYERS ON X| ZIMBABWE LAWYERS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
ON FACEBOOK

LEAVE A REPLY