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Zimbabwe Woman Cleared of Mugabe Insult Charges

Zimbabwe Constitution

Zimbabwe Constitution

A Bulawayo pre-school matron who was charged with one count of insulting President Robert Mugabe was Thursday taken off remand at her initial appearance before city magistrate Takundwa Mutetwa at the Tredgold Magistrates Courts due to lack of evidence.

Seventy-five year-old Stella Souter, who is a matron at Queen Elizabeth Nursery School, appeared before Mr. Mutetwa facing charges of contravening Section 33 (2) of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act and uttering words likely to cause contempt, hatred or ridicule towards the president.

Court records show that she was arrested after a disgruntled employee at the pre-school, Tafadzwa Satimburwa, reported to the police that she had abused the president's name on a number of occasions each time he demanded his salary between October last year and January this year.

The police arrested and charged her for allegedly undermining or insulting the president following Satimburwa’s report.

Satimburwa told the police at one time Souter told her “to go and claim the money from Mugabe."

On another occasion, the accused is alleged to have said: “You black people of Mugabe, I do not want to see you here asking for pay. Just work and when you want your pay, go and get it from Mugabe. I will never pay you.

“Go and report me to your Mugabe. What do you think he is going to do to me? ..."

However, the state case fell apart due to lack of evidence.

Souter, through her attorney, managed to convince the court that Satimburwa had fabricated evidence as an aggrieved employee to get back at her.

It’s not yet clear if the police will one day proceed by way of summons but for now, Souter is a free person.