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Police arrest school authorities over satirical images

by Stephen Jakes
05 Mar 2016 at 07:50hrs | Views
ZIMBABWEAN police have arrested and charged three school authorities for allegedly mocking President Robert Mugabe on social media after they purportedly posted satirical pictures of the Zanu PF leader on Facebook.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Right said police in Bindura in Mashonaland Central province on 09 February 2016 arrested Edson Chuwe, a school head at Shamva Primary School, Edna Garwe who is employed as a typist at the same school and Leman Pwanyiwa, who serves as the secretary of Shamva Primary School Development Committee and charged them with undermining authority of or insulting President Mugabe in contravention of Section 33 (2) (b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 or alternatively criminal nuisance as defined in Section 46 (2) (v) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23.

"Police claimed that they received a tip off on 05 February 2016 to the effect that the trio had "doctored" degrading photographs of President Mugabe using the school computer," said ZLHR.

"Upon rummaging through Pwanyiwa's mobile phone handset, the police charged that they accessed a message sent to Chuwe through WhatsApp, a cross-platform instant messaging application which read; "Mr President isn't it time to bid farewell to the people of Zimbabwe".

ZLHR said Pwanyiwa, the police charged, also sent a video of a speech delivered by President Mugabe's wife, Grace during a political rally held in Rushinga in Mashonaland Central province to Chuwe to which he allegedly responded by stating that; "Havana shungu ne collapse of economy".

"Police and prosecutors claimed that between June 2015 and November 2015 the trio "doctored" some photographs denigrating the person of the President of Zimbabwe. They claimed that the photographs were exchanged between Chuwe, aged 42 years, Garwe, aged 45 years and 33 year-old Pwanyiwa through their mobile phone handsets after having been edited using the school's computer," ZLHR said.

"It is alleged that the police were alerted by a former employee of the school who worked in the school's computer laboratory and discovered the "doctored" photographs in Chuwe and Garwe's mobile phones. The unidentified former employee had been sacked by Chuwe for some unestablished misdemeanors, which involved tampering with official documents."

ZLHR said the police and prosecutors also accused Pwanyiwa of keeping images in his photo gallery portraying a "doctored" picture of President Mugabe being kicked by a white man.

"Police and prosecutors claimed that Chuwe posted some "doctored" photographs showing President Mugabe being assaulted by a sjambok wielding member of the Zimbabwe Republic Police," ZLHR.

"Some of the photographs show a "doctored" picture of President Mugabe sitting down naked and wearing some beads with the caption reading "Mambo wedu". The other photograph shows President Mugabe posing with pop star Rihanna in a position which the police and prosecutors claimed it suggested that they were in love."

zlhr said the other post showed several leaders who served as Presidents of neighbouring Zambia from Kenneth Kaunda to Frederick Chiluba while on Zimbabwe, there were several pictures of President Mugabe appearing several times and with the caption reading "Zimbabwean Presidents".

"The trio, which was arrested on 09 February 2016 was only freed on 11 February 2016 after the intervention of their lawyer Ernest Jena of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, who applied for their release on bail, which was granted by Bindura Magistrate Ruramai Chitumbura,"ZLHR.

"Chuwe, Garwe and Pwanyiwa, who had endured two nights in police detention were ordered to pay $50 bail each, to continue residing at their given residential addresses and not to interfere with State witnesses."

ZLHR said Chuwe, Garwe and Pwanyiwa will return to court on Tuesday 08 March 2016 when Magistrate Chitumbura will hand down her ruling on an application for refusal of further remand filed by the trio's lawyer and which is being opposed by State prosecutors.

"In the meantime, the police confiscated the trio's cellphones and the school's computer which they intend to use as exhibits if the case proceeds to trial stage," said ZLHR.

Source - Byo24News