Freelance journalist Godfrey Mtimba who is based in Zimbabwe’s southern town of Masvingo was on 29 June 2020 charged with undermining the authority of or insulting the President. He has been charged in terms of Section 33 (2) (a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
This section deals with any person who publicly unlawfully and intentionally makes any statement about or concerning the President with the knowledge or realising that there is a real risk or possibility that the statement is false and that it may engender feelings of hostility towards or cause hatred, contempt or ridicule of the President whether in person or in respect of the President’s Office.
MISA Zimbabwe understands that the charges arise from an incident which occurred on 26 June 2020 when MDC Alliance and some civic society activists allegedly addressed Masvingo residents who were waiting to board a ZUPCO bus. Mtimba took pictures and videos of the incident.
His lawyer, Phillip Shumba, who was deployed by MISA Zimbabwe, said the police recorded a warned and cautioned statement from Mtimba and that they would be advised of when the journalist would appear in court.