President Robert Mugabe
Charges against a former Zimbabwean MP, who allegedly claimed that President Robert Mugabe had gay sex, have been dropped.
Lynette Karenyi, of the Movement for Democratic Change, was arrested in December 2011 after she allegedly “insulted” the notoriously homophobic president at a rally at the Nhedziwa football grounds in Chimanimani.
Prosecutors claimed that she said that “Robert Mugabe, the Zanu PF president, was practising homosexuality with [Information minister] Jonathan Moyo.”
According to Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Karenyi, who spent a week in custody before being released on bail, was due to stand trial on Tuesday but the charges were withdrawn by the state, because it did not have its case in order.
Magistrate Sekesai Chiwundura told prosecutors that they could reinstate the charges against Karenyi at a later date. She could face up to a year in jail if found guilty.
Insulting the president, or undermining the authority of the president and communicating falsehoods about him, has been a criminal offence in Zimbabwe since 1987.
It’s unclear why the case went to court. In October last year, Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court appeared to strike down the insult law – which has over the years been used to target Mubage’s opponents – because it infringes on freedom of expression.
Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba warned the state at the time against prosecuting frivolous case in which statements were made “in drinking halls and other social places”.