Mutare man accused of insulting Mnangagwa released on bail

A man from Mutare who was imprisoned for a month after storming a police station, removing President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s portrait, and blaming him for causing suffering in his life was finally released on free bail.

28-year-old Elroy Anesu Muchaya was arrested on September 6, 2023, and charged with undermining the authority of or insulting the President as defined in Section 33(2)(b) of the Criminal Code.

Muchaya was freed after receiving legal representation from Chris Ndlovu of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) and Takunda Musara of Gonese Ndlovu Legal Practitioners who argued against his continued incarceration.

“In Mutare, we have ended the month-long detention of Elroy Anesu Muchaya, a 28-year-old man, who had been languishing in prison after he was arrested and charged for allegedly blaming President Mnangagwa for causing misery in his life,” said ZLHR in a statement.

ZLHR said Muchaya of Sakubva suburb in Mutare, was arrested after he went to a police charge office, climbed on the counter and removed President Mngangagwa’s portrait from the wall – accusing him of causing his suffering.

“According to prosecutors, Muchaya visited ZRP Mutare Traffic Charge Office, which was manned by Ignatius Maziveyi, a ZRP officer, who was on duty, in the early hours of 6 September, where the 28-year-old man allegedly stepped on the counter and removed President Mnangagwa’s portrait and uttered the words ‘Munhu uyu arikukonzeresa kuti nditambure,’ which was translated to mean ‘This person is the one who is causing my suffering,’ while holding the portrait close to himself,” said the organisation.

Prosecutors said Muchaya’s alleged utterances were “unlawful, abusive, indecent and obscene as he had no right to act in the manner he allegedly did.”

Muchaya was released from prison on October 5, 2023 on free bail granted by Mutare Magistrate Prisca Manhibi, after his lawyers Ndlovu and Musara challenged his continued detention in jail and applied for his release.

Muchaya will return to court on October 19, 2023.

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