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Minister Challenges Striking Down of Criminal Law Provisions

Artist Owen Maseko & lawyer Nosimilo Chanayiwa leaving the Constitutional Court recently where the law was struck down for criminalizing insulting the president. (Photo/Iwrin Chifera)
Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa has appealed against last month’s Constitutional Court ruling scrapping sections of the Criminal Law Codification Reform Act that criminalize insulting the president.

Mnangagwa had been given until Wednesday to appeal the ruling. In the past three years, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights has provided legal assistance to more than 60 people charged with insulting President Robert Mugabe.

The court had ruled that the offense of undermining the authority of the president and communicating falsehoods ran counter to the freedom of expression enshrined in the new constitution.

But in papers filed Tuesday, Mnangagwa argued that the reputation of the president must be protected and the law must not be struck down.

Human rights lawyer, Jeremiah Bamu of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said the law infringes on people’s freedoms.