Six Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) activists appeared in court facing a charge of insulting police officers calling them President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s dogs.
Nobody Makoni (51), Batsirai Sora (33), Kudzai Sachiwo (27), Jacob Chigodora (32), Chipo Mungoshi (34) and Memory Chikodze (35), who are on $5 000 bail, appeared before Barbara Mateko at the Harare Magistrates Court.
They will be back in court on March 3 for a ruling.
According to the charge sheet, it is alleged that the six insulted police officers saying: “Mapurisa imi murimbwa dzaMnangagwa. Munongoshandiswa muchafa muchitambura (You police officers are Mnangagwa’s dogs. You are being used, you will die poor).”
The alleged incident happened in Epworth in November last year where opposition activists had gathered for a meeting.
Their lawyer, Noble Chinhanu of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, yesterday challenged the State to prove how the police officers were robbed of their dignity by the alleged insults.
“There is nothing to show that the accused were not merely making an observation on the office of a police officer in particular and nothing in their personal capacity as human beings. The complainant’s name was not mentioned except the offence of a policeman/policewoman in general. The complainant is taking offence for the entire police service,” Chinhanu said.
Tambudzai Dzumbunu, a female police officer stationed at Epworth Police Station is the complainant in the case.
Chinhanu argued that being called Mnangagwa’s dog was a compliment as it described the loyalty of the “insulted” police officers.
“If the accused meant that the office of the police officers can be construed as Mnangagwa’s dogs in the sense that they are in the loyal service of the State and Mnangagwa is the Head of State, one wonders why we are even wasting resources on this case. There is no particularisation of which part is insulting,” Chinhanu said.
“This could be anything and the accused at the very moment are perplexed wondering which of the following is the reason for the feelings felt by the complaint: is it the reference to the dog, is it the reference to being in Mr Mnangagwa’s service in particular, is it the claim that they are being abused or is it that it was said that they are suffering or will die suffering?”
“The complainant is obviously not a dog belonging to Mnangagwa and no one in their right mind would mistake her for one. There is no mention of the insulating qualities of a dog that the accused likened her to. On most accounts, a dog is a wonderful animal with noble qualities and traits. Most notable is the wonderful phrase ‘man’s best friend’ with regard to its loyalty, braverly, companionship, service and protection or security.”