By Nomalanga Moyo
SW radio Africa
20 January 2014
A teenager who was arrested Thursday and accused of insulting President Robert Mugabe is out of custody after a Mutare magistrate granted him bail on Saturday.
Police charged 18-year-old Gumisai Manduwa from Odzi in Manicaland, with breaching the country’s criminal laws when he posted a message on Facebook claiming that Mugabe had died and was being kept in a freezer.
Mugabe’s health is a closely guarded secret, and until his reappearance Sunday many Zimbabweans had been speculating that he could be dead, given his advanced age and rumours that he has cancer.
Kumbirai Mafunda, spokesman for Zim Lawyers for Human Rights who represented the teenager, confirmed Manduwa’s release on $30 bail.
“As a lobby group we feel that the police are being overzealous by arresting people on allegations of undermining President Mugabe.
“The police should not be wrongfully targeting and arresting people for expressing themselves. This is a waste of State resources and we have seen more and more of these cases being thrown out by the courts,” Mafunda added.
Mafunda said Manduwa is the latest victim to be arrested for allegedly undermining authority or insulting Mugabe.
“In 2011, Bulawayo magistrate Rose Dube dropped the case against Vikas Mavhudzi, who was being charged with subversion because of an alleged post on Facebook. No evidence of the message could be found.”