ZIMBABWE – Victoria Falls resident magistrate Ms Lindiwe Maphosa yesterday freed Gokwe-Nembudziya MP Justice Mayor Wadyajena on the alleged charge of denigrating the First Lady Cde Grace Mugabe, but he will stand trial for alleged disorderly conduct.
Wadyajena was arrested last month in Victoria Falls soon after the 15th Zanu-PF Annual National People’s Conference for uttering insults to Cde Jimayi Muduvuri, a Zanu-PF cadre based in Kadoma, and the insults were directed at the First Lady, the State alleged.
He was charged with criminal insult or alternatively disorderly conduct.
Making a ruling on the application for refusal of further remand made by defence lawyer Mr Givemore Muvhiringi, Ms Maphosa consented to the defence argument that the charge of criminal insult was unconstitutional after being declared so by the Constitutional Court.
“The defence made an application for refusal of further remand in relation to the two charges, the first one being criminal insult in terms of Section 95 of the code and an alternative charge of disorderly conduct,” she said.
“The argument was that the accused can’t be placed on remand because Section 95 had been declared unconstitutional. It is the court’s finding that the accused can’t be placed on remand basing on that fact.”
The same could not be said of the alternative charge of disorderly conduct, Ms Maphosa said.
“There are essential elements that can’t qualify the argument that there was an improper splitting of the charges,” she said. “The alternative charge of breaching peace is not a second count, but an alternative charge and as such there is no basis for the accused being placed off remand. The application in relation to the alternative charge is, therefore, dismissed.”
The MP will go on trial on February 1 on that charge.
Wadyajena (35) of Borrowdale Brooke in Harare, who is also the chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, has not been asked to plead and is on $800 bail.