A SHAMVA primary school head and two colleagues have appeared in court after they were arrested for sharing via social media what police described as “degrading” images of President Robert Mugabe.
The headmaster, Edson Chuwe (42), was arrested together with school typist Edna Garwe, (age not given) and School Development Association (SDA) committee member, Lenman Pwanyiwa (33).
They were charged with undermining the authority of, or insulting, the president as defined in Section 33(2)(b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
One of the manipulated images shows Mugabe being kicked by a white farmer man while a cartoon, also shared by Chuwe, depicts the President sitting down wearing traditional ornamental beads with the caption ‘Mambo Wedu’.
All three appeared before provincial magistrate Ruramai Chitumbura represented by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR). They were released on $50 bail each and will be back in court on the 8th March.
Prosecutors claim that the three manipulated President Mugabe’s images into degrading formats between June and November 2015 using school computers and then shared the photographs using their mobile phones.
Police have since seized their cell phones and the school computers as part of their investigations.
According to court papers, the three suspects were arrested on the 9th of February after detectives received a tip off from a former school employee who was sacked by the headmaster.
Chuwe is said to have shared the manipulated images on his Facebook ‘wall’, in addition to posting “obscene cartoons denigrating the President” which were ‘liked’ by Pwanyiwa.
One of the re-worked images show Mugabe apparently running for dear life as he is assaulted by a member of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) using a baton charge. Another image showed Mugabe with musician Rihanna in a “position suggesting that they were in love”.
The court heard that Mugabe is also shown with Elizabeth Macheka, wife of opposition MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, with a caption which reads ‘Mother Zimbabwe’.
Prosecutors also say another montage showed successive Zambian Presidents from Kenneth Kaunda to Fredrick Chiluba while on Zimbabwe several photographs of Mugabe appear several times under the caption ‘Zimbabwean Presidents’.