By Alex Bell
SW Radio Africa
09 January 2013
A magistrate in Chimanimani on Tuesday freed a former MDC-T legislator, who in 2011 commented that the notoriously homophobic Robert Mugabe was in a homosexual relationship.
Lynette Karenyi, the former Chimanimani West MP was due to stand trial for ‘undermining’ the authority of the President, after being charged under Zimbabwe’s controversial insult laws
But on Tuesday, Magistrate Sekesai Chiwundura set Karenyi free, after it emerged that the state prosecutor did not have the authority to charge her.
Karenyi spent a week in custody after her arrest in December 2011. The State claimed that Karenyi insulted Mugabe at a rally held in Nhedziwa when she uttered the words: “Robert Mugabe President veZANU PF aiita zvehomosexuality naJonathan Moyo uyezve Canaan Banana aiita izvi,” which prosecutors translated to mean “Robert Mugabe, the ZANU PF President was practising homosexuality with Jonathan Moyo.”
The prosecutors stated that the former MDC-T legislator’s alleged statement was abusive, indecent, obscene and meant to cause hatred, contempt or ridicule to Mugabe.
Mugabe has previously sworn to amend Zimbabwe’s laws so homosexual ‘offenders’ would ‘rot in jail’ for life. The 89 year old has also insisted that ‘filthy gays destroy nations’, and previously threatened to cut gay people’s heads off, castrate them and has also compared them to ‘pigs and dogs’.
Last year, the Constitutional Court rebuked State prosecutors for abusing the country’s insult laws by bringing frivolous cases against critics of Mugabe.
Over 70 people are said to have been dragged before the country’s courts since 2010, charged under the laws.