Gweru Mayor’s Perm Sec insult case goes to Constitutional Court
MIDLANDS Provincial Magistrate Mrs Phathekile Msipa has granted an application by Gweru Mayor, Councillor Hamutendi Kombayi, to have a matter in which he stands accused of sending offensive messages to Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Permanent Secretary, Engineer George Mlilo, referred to the Constitutional Court.
Clr Kombayi (39) of Kopje Suburb, Gweru, appeared before Mrs Msipa facing two counts of sending offensive messages to Eng Mlilo via WhatsApp.
Through his lawyer, Mr Reginald Chidawanyika, Clr Kombayi, who is not denying sending the WhatsApp messages, last month made an application to have the matter referred to the Constitutional Court for determination.
Although the State had earlier on opposed the application as frivolous and vexatious saying it lacked merit, Mrs Msipa yesterday ruled that the matter should be referred to the apex court. “The application is hereby granted and referred to the Constitutional Court for determination,” said Mrs Msipa.
She said in her ruling she was guided by cases of a similar nature that were recently referred to the ConCourt.
Clr Kombayi in his heads of argument said while sending Eng Mlilo the alleged messages, he was merely exercising his freedom of expression in terms of Section 61 of the Constitution.
Mrs Msipa said the ConCourt would determine whether the magistrates’ court can preside over Cyber crime cases. She also said the ConCourt would also make a determination on the jurisdiction of the matter since Clr Kombayi sent the alleged messages while he was in the United Kingdom.
Prosecutor Ms Helen Khosa said on December 24 last year, Clr Kombayi sent a message to Eng Mlilo, which read: “I will fight you, the war begins in 2016. To hell, you are a thief . . . I have proof and you are a fool that does not have a diploma.”
Ms Khosa told the court that the following day Clr Kombayi sent another message threatening Eng Mlilo.
“Audit tells you the problem, you decide. A suicide bomb will blast you,” read the alleged message. — @ pchitumba1