Zimbabwe and free speech: Human Rights activists take a stand

According to ENCA Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) are concerned about the growing number of people being detained on suspicion of insulting President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The organization says 40 such cases have been registered across the country in the last two years.
During the Mugabe era, Zimbabweans were frequently arrested for mocking the president.

President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa

President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa is accused of suppressing free speech in his nation

Human rights lawyers said the latest arrests took place in the northern town of Bindura and Chitungwiza on the outskirts of Harare.

What’s happening in Zimbabwe

In the region of Bindura the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers arrested Patrick Kingirasi, an unemployed resident of Bindura in Mashonaland Central province, on November 18 and charged him under the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

Prosecutors alleged that Kingirasi called Edson Chibaya, a fellow Bindura resident, on his mobile phone and made some utterances to the effect that the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) members were thieves.

He allegedly blamed the party’s leader, Mnangagwa, for causing massive suffering among citizens and for authoring the country’s economic crisis.

Prosecutors said Kingirasi’s alleged utterances were unlawful, intentional, abusive, indecent and abusive.

Kingirasi was later granted ZW$500k bail

In Chitungwiza the Zimbabwe Republic Police arrested Blessing Mhembere, a 22-year-old man, on charges of subverting a constitutional government.

Mhembere is accused of inciting others to overthrow President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government through unconstitutional means.

Zimababwe Lawyers for Human Rights have been leading the fight for freedom of speech in Zimbabwe offering representation to those arrested for alleged hate speech

Zimababwe Lawyers for Human Rights have been leading the fight for freedom of speech in Zimbabwe

Political analysts and veteran politicians say they did not expect this from Mnangagwa’s government.
Veteran politician Urayai Zembe said

“It means therefore that the current head of government learnt nothing.

He worked with Mugabe for more than 40 years.

And we saw that in Zanu PF there was an uprising and how Mugabe left power was through victimisation of the current President Mnangagwa himself.”

In his inaugural address in 2017, President Mnangagwa pledged to protect human rights and respect freedoms in Zimbabwe.

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