A Harare magistrate has described former Zanu PF activist Acie Lumumba as “confused” because he is continually changing his lawyers.
Lumumba whose real name is William Mutumanje, is charged with undermining President Robert Mugabe’s authority after telling him f*** you during the launch of a new party.
On Tuesday, the Magistrate, Mr Vakayi Chikwekwe chided Lumumba for “bringing a new lawyer for every court session”. This was after he brought Advocate Zvikomborero Chadambuka to represent him.
In the last court session, Lumumba was represented by Advocate Nelson Chamisa. Earlier on he had been represented by Mr Arshiel Mugiya. Chikwekwe yesterday inquired if the new advocate was instructed.
The defence counsel produced a letter from Lumumba’s first lawyer, Mr Mugiya, which Mr Chikwekwe said was not clear. Prosecutor Mr Oscar Madhume said the matter was being continually postponed at the insistence of the accused.
To this Mr Chikwekwe said: “Accused you are confused, go and put your house on order.
“With so many lawyers in the country, I wonder how many you will bring to this case.”
The matter was adjourned to August 11.
Lumumba seeks Constitutional Court referral of his matter following the dismissal of his application challenging his placement on remand.
He said his constitutional rights as enshrined in the Constitution were being infringed upon.
Allegations are that on June 30 Lumumba said “Mr President Robert Gabriel Mugabe f*** you. I am drawing the red line, our kids are in trouble so it is a red line I know and my name is Lumumba, Lumumba, Lumumba . . . ”
He was addressing a press conference where he unveiled his political party.
It is further alleged that he went on to say that if anything happened to President Mugabe, his children would be dealt with.
“I am someone’s child, a war veteran’s child, you can touch me, but I hope you live long because God forbid something happens to you and you leave your kids, they will be touched too.”
This week Dr Alex Magaisa, a law lecturer at Kent University in the United Kingdom said that Section 33 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act that provides against insulting the president is unconstitutional as it is too vague and violates freedom of expression and citizens’ political rights.
“Section 33 is an outdated and unjust law which is not fit for purpose. It is unconstitutional and should be struck off the statute books because it is a serious hazard to democracy,” said Magaisa in a recent blog. (Read the full article here).
“An executive president is an active politician who routinely trades arguments with and exchanges occasional political jibes against opponents, especially during election time.
“It is inherently unfair for a legal system to give protection to a president who freely criticizes and insults competitors whenever opportunity permits,” said Magaisa.
“Indeed, the reality in Zimbabwe is that President Mugabe has often publicly insulted his political rivals and other critics and yet the legal system has often descended heavily upon those who allegedly insult him,” added the law expert.
He added: “A law that fails to treat all persons equally falls short of the standard of the right to equal protection of the law and against non-discrimination which are protected under Section 56 of the Constitution.