‘Robert Mugabe above the law’ – Tomana

“Let me say it here now, that insulting and undermining the office of the president is not trivial. It must be prosecuted and demands the highest penalty that is provided for under the Constitution and the law.

“The reason why the presidency is a protected institution even by the Constitution itself…he is the only person who is above the Constitution in the sense that he may not be prosecuted during his tenure of office and he may not be sued during his tenure of office…,” he said.

Tomana added that it was on the basis and principle of obeying the president that the insult law  had been crafted.

This speech comes hot on the heels of the strident calls for Tomana’s resignation or dismissal, after he questioned whether all cases involving sex with girls under the age of 16 should be treated as rape.

He emphasised yesterday that his office was apolitical, as he called on Zimbabweans to respect Mugabe.

And in a thinly-veiled attack on Constitutional Court judges who have previously dismissed Mugabe insult cases, Tomana said that it was not prudent for Mugabe to be called a “goblin”.

“We have heard some comments that have come from the courts, one that is on record is the one that refers to some statement that was made about the president as being a goblin and there is a judgment that is saying that, well we know that he is not a goblin and therefore why should it be an issue that somebody has called him a goblin and therefore it is not an offence.

“This has confused a lot of people. The understanding of undermining the office of the president has been interfered with in a way. But for us, we understand why that provision of the law is there,” Tomana said.

Constitutional Court judges in January this year expressed concern over the arrest of people for making political statements that had no bearing on Mugabe.

This followed a Constitutional Court application filed by MDC secretary general Douglas Mwonzora, who challenged his arrest after he allegedly called Mugabe a goblin.

However, Tomana said that insulting the president was not allowed in the context that as a leader Mugabe had followers.

“…most of you and most of us belong to this part of the world and we come from the black race and according to what we know culturally, we all understand what a goblin is.

“Chikwambo munochiziva handiti. Munhu ane chikwambo haatyise? (I believe you all know a goblin. Is it not true that a person who has a goblin is frightening?), would you want to follow munhu ane chikwambo (somebody who has a goblin), would you want to be led by somebody waunoziva kuti anoroya (that you know practises witchcraft).

“Do you see that it does have an effect and an impact on people who actually have an obligation to have the trust to be able to follow the leader and you say he is a goblin and you say it is trivial,” he said.

He told the prosecutors that the idea of respecting Mugabe was not optional, adding that his office was protected by law.

“… if it was optional to obey him and then he says for example let’s indigenise the economy, do you think the economy would be indigenised if it is optional for the citizens to be able to obey or respect him? It would not happen.

“The reason why that law is there is that law and order does not exist in a vacuum, it will happen organically where certain rules, certain laws are being obeyed,” he said.

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