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The Most Absurd Human Rights Violations (97): Free Speech in Zimbabwe

Robert Mugabe as a young man

Robert Mugabe as a young man, photo by JP Laffont / Sygma / Corbis


Richmore Mashinga Jazi, a self-employed carpenter, was watching live coverage of Mugabe’s birthday bash last Friday while drinking with friends when he allegedly suggested that the 88-year-old president had sought help to blow up the balloons. …

“Who helped Mugabe blow up his birthday balloons, does he still have the energy?” is the statement that got Mugabe’s loyalists mad, resulting in the arrest of Jazi.

Jazi is now before the Mutare magistrates court on allegations of undermining the authority of the President. …

Mutare prosecutor Truman Joma … told the court that Jazi made the statement knowing that there was real risk or possibility that the statement was false and that it could cause hatred or contempt of the person of the President.

He alleged that Jazi was mocking and insulting the President by referring to his age and health. Trouble for Jazi started when he asked where prominent Mutare resident Penjeni Gwinyai, who had just entered into the bar, was coming from.

Gwinyai, the state alleged, informed Jazi that he had been at Sakubva stadium to witness Mugabe blow up his birthday balloons, prompting Jazi to query if Mugabe still had the energy to do so. Gwinyai informed the police leading to Jazi’s arrest. (source)

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The Most Absurd Human Rights Violations (72): Political Rights in Zimbabwe

skeleton and nude on sofa

Nearly a third of Zimbabwe’s 5.5m registered voters are dead, research has found. Others appear to be up to 120 years old, improbably outstripping the country’s average life expectancy of 43.

The independent Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) said the country’s electoral roll was a “shambles” and should be overhauled before fresh elections, which could be held this year.

A new electoral register is a key demand of the Movement for Democratic Change , which has accused President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party of counting “ghost voters” in its own favour. (source)

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