Gweru Mayor’s Perm Sec in­sult case goes to Con­sti­tu­tional Court

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News/worldwide - Pa­trick Chi­tumba Mid­lands Bureau Chief

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

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