A 39-year-old Chipinge Town Councillor who was arrested last Friday for describing Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa as a fool on a WhatsApp group was granted $500 bail after his appearance at the Chipinge Magistrates Court Saturday afternoon.
The main opposition MDC Alliance councillor, Chrispen Rambu allegedly sent a message on a WhatsApp group called Chipinge Central Development in which he said the Zimbabwean leader is a fool compared to his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa.
He was 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 Chapter 9:23, when he appeared before Chipinge resident magistrate Elizabeth Hanzi.
Represented by Mikias Gwamanda of Gwamanda Law Chambers courtesy of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), Rambu was remanded to 8 May this year.
He was ordered to continue residing at the same address and not to interfere with state witnesses. The complainant in the matter is the state represented by ZRP Chipinge Dispol Chief Superintendent Makunike. The latter, who is also on the 251-member WhatsApp group, reported the matter to the police, leading to the opposition councillor’s Friday arrest.
State papers allege that on March 1, 2016, a one Freeman Netsai Mujaji created a WhatsApp group called Chipinge Central Development. On April 21, at 21:18hrs, the accused (Rambu) sent a message on the same group which reads:
“Ramaphosa just announced South Africa’s stimulus package. Seeing him addressing and comparing him with E.D you won’t doubt that we are having a fool for a head of State.”
He allegedly circulated the message using his Econet number 0772 521 559 and WhatsApp username ‘Brave Heart’.