…Copied from his Twitter account)
@HeraldZimbabwe 5 April 2023
Two background facts make this an unfortunate political conviction, and one which – while outrageous and inconveniencing – will not surive an appeal:
1. A High Court decision in Case No. HC 845/21, “declared that there is no offence called publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the State under Zimbabwean law.” This is binding on the Magistrates Court.
2. In their press statement of 6 January 2021 – some 24 hours after the incident – ZRP noted “the social media post titled, ‘Police officer strikes, kills little baby with baton in Harare’, but – significantly – the statement did not take issue with the post. Instead, it took issue with the police officers involved in the incident [and the mother of the baby who had been allegedly killed by a police officer] who “decided not to report the incident. They ignored the fact that the incident had been captured by various people through smart phones and posted on social media”; said @PoliceZimbabwe.
Therefore, Mahere’s conviction flies in the face of the High Court decision in HC 845/21, the facts of the case as objectively captured in a balanced manner by @PoliceZimbabwe in their press statement of 6 January 2023 and – above all – the fundamental right to freedom of expression enshrined in s61 of the Constitution.
It is important for justice not only to be done, but also for it to be seen to be done. In this case, Justice was neither done nor seen to be done. The case is a travesty of justice not least because it is a political case, in every sense of the term, ‘political’.
The case is yet another example of why Zimbabwe’s Magistrates Court needs urgent root and branch reform. They have become a national embarrassment. Everything about the Magistrates Court is now political, and unjust by definition. This is why there is no prize for guessing that there is no chance in heaven for any higher court in Zimbabwe to uphold Mahere’s conviction!