Legal Proceedings Initiated Against Gokwe Resident for Presidential Defamation

March 15, 2024
President Mnangagwa | Report Focus News
President Mnangagwa

In a notable legal development, Mark Mandiki, a resident of Gokwe, Zimbabwe, is currently facing charges for allegedly defaming President Emmerson Mnangagwa. The accusation centers around Mandiki’s purported comparison of the President to a “scud,” a local term for a traditional opaque beer produced by Chibuku Breweries, a subsidiary of the Delta Corporation.

The incident leading to the charges occurred on February 25, 2023, during an argument with Doubt Tonhorayi, a member of the ruling Zanu PF party. Mandiki is reported to have stated, “Your President Mnangagwa looks like an ancient opaque beer known as SCUD, which is why it was named ED because it is as rotten as him,” thereby allegedly undermining and insulting the Office of the President.

Following this incident, Mandiki was formally charged and brought before the court, where he is now facing legal scrutiny under laws that penalize derogatory remarks against the President. This case has garnered attention due to its implications on the boundaries of freedom of speech and political expression in Zimbabwe.

The State has concluded its case against Mandiki, with three witnesses having testified against him as of Wednesday, March 13. The defense is slated to present its case on April 3, with Mandiki asserting his innocence and claiming the accusations are a result of political retaliation. He alleges that the bad blood between him and Tonhorayi is due to his political migration from an opposition party to Zanu PF in 2018, suggesting that the charges may be motivated by personal animosity rather than factual basis.

This case is being closely monitored by observers within and outside Zimbabwe, as it touches on critical issues related to the limits of political discourse and the legal protections afforded to high-ranking officials. The outcome may have significant implications for the legal precedents governing freedom of expression and political engagement in the country.