In apparent testimony to the brutal reality that dissenting opinions are fast being criminalised in independent Zimbabwe, a councilor from the ancient city of Masvingo has been languishing in remand prison for singing a derogatory song with lyrics dissing incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

According to prosecutors, Councilor Godfrey Kurauone, who is currently being kept at Masvingo Remand Prison, is the right candidate for a custodial sentence for singing a protest song denigrating the Zimbabwe septuagenarian.

Together with six others, the 33-year-old Kurauone reportedly chanted a song with the following vernacular lyrics:

“Ichava nhoroondo kana tatenderwa na Baba kubvisa Mnangagwa ichava nhoroondo ((it will soon be history when we are allowed by God to remove Mnangagwa).”

Clr Kurauone is also accused of blocking a road from Gaths Mine to Chirumanzu in Masvingo province on July 31- the same day state security forces foiled street protests by dissenting Zimbabweans.

His lawyer Advocate Martin Mureri told ZimRights that the opposition politician was arrested on July 31, charged with blocking a gravel road from Gaths Mine to Chirumanzu with stones and burning of tyres.

On August 1, Advocate Mureri said Kurauone appeared in court and the magistrate remanded in custody to August 3 for his bail hearing before he was arrested for the second time while waiting for the bail ruling, together with the other accused sextet over the anti-Mnangagwa song.

He was charged with criminal nuisance as defined in section 46 (2) (v) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

“It is unfortunate and sad at the same time to note that the criminal nuisance charge was as a result of him singing (the song),” Mureri told ZimRights.

“Godfrey was then locked up at Masvingo Remand Prison. On August 3, 2020, the court ruled that Godfrey was not fit for bail for the reasons that he would commit more offences if he were to be granted bail,” he said.

Previously, Kurauone had been arrested for defying Covid19 regulations after he mobilised and fed homeless people in Masvingo on June 15, 2020, the day Mnangagwa called for a national day of fasting.

In recent weeks, the Zanu PF Government launched a vicious clampdown on opposition activists who include Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume and hard-hitting investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono.

Since their arrests in a police blitzkrieg on July 20, the duo of Ngarivhume and Chin’ono have been languishing in remand prison amid reports that they have been exposed to the most brutal of conditions, including being denied access to food.

Additional Reporting: Zwnews