Friday, 18 August 2017

MUTODI TO CHALLENGE ARREST

Musician and businessman Energy Mutodi, who was arrested last week on charges of undermining the president will challenge his arrest when he next appears in court.

The businessman-cum-politician was arrested last week by armed police following his Facebook post in which he warned President Robert Mugabe of dire consequences in the event he failed to handle the burning succession issue in his party.

“Appellant (Mutodi) has given notice that he will challenge the basis of his arrest at the next remand date on the basis that the article read as a whole does not disclose an offence and that his arrest violates his rights under Section 49 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe (right to personal liberty), on the basis that he was arrested on incorrect information; Section 50 in that he was not advised, on arrest, of the correct reasons for his arrest and the reasons were only furnished when he was warned and cautioned on different split charges; Section 56 (equality and non-discrimination), in that he is being charged for making a political commentary on an issue of public interest on which many other political commentators have commented and that he is the only one selected for arrest,” Mutodi said in the bail appeal filed at the High Court by his lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, on Wednesday.

Mutodi is currently in remand prison after he was denied bail at the magistrates’ court.

However, Mutodi said Harare provincial magistrate Elisha Singano, erred and misdirected himself by denying him bail based on “facts and grounds” that he created on his own, which were not relied upon by the State.

 


He said there are no compelling reasons advanced by the State warranting him not to be released on $100 bail, with a condition for him to report to the police once a week.

Mutodi also argued that there are no grounded reasons that would warrant him to abscond if released on bail, as he is a Zimbabwean, with businesses that he runs locally.

He  defended his commentary, arguing that it was based on a speech that had been made by Mugabe and does not warrant any criminal charges, adding that in any event, he has a right to freely express himself as ascribed by the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

He was arrested after he wrote on his Facebook wall that Zimbabwe risked a coup if the thorny succession issue was not resolved amicably, adding that Mugabe should consult the army to avert chaos.

“While a military takeover may be far-fetched in Zimbabwe, it is important for . . . Mugabe to be careful in naming his successor. Any suspicion of unfairness or discrimination on account of tribalism or factionalism may backfire,” he wrote.

“There are key stakeholders that need to be consulted, among them the military and the whole security establishment called the Joint Operations Command that is chaired by Vice President Mnangagwa,” he went on.


The State was yet to file a response yesterday in the bail application slated for hearing today.

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