HARARE – Lynette Karenyi, a top official in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC party and Chimanimani West MP has been locked in remand prison after being accused of calling President Robert Mugabe a homosexual.
A prosecutor immediately told a Mutare magistrate that the MP should remain behind bars for her own security as Mugabe supporters were likely to come after her. Karenyi, 36, handed herself in at Mutare Central Police Station after being informed that police were hunting her down.
She was charged and taken to court yesterday before making the trip to remand prison while she awaits the court to decide on a bail application lodged by her lawyer David Tandiri.
The legislator appeared before Mutare magistrate Noah Gwatidzo charged with “undermining the authority of or insulting the President as defined in section 33 (20 (b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23.”
Prosecutor Truman Joma told the court that Karenyi insulted Mugabe by telling a gathering of MDC party supporters that:
“Zanu PF members have been attacking MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai alleging him to be pro-homosexuality yet Robert Mugabe president weZanu PF aiita zvehomosexuality naJonathan Moyo uyezve Canaan Banana aiitazve.
(Zanu PF members have been attacking MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai alleging him to be pro-homosexuality yet Robert Mugabe president of Zanu PF practiced homosexuality with Jonathan Moyo and Canaan Banana was also involved).”
Moyo, a former information minister, is the MP for Tsholotsho North and a Zanu PF politburo member, while the late Banana was Zimbabwe’s founding president.
Joma told the court that Karenyi made the utterances on December 9 2011, while addressing the party’s supporters at Nhedziwa in Chimanimani. He added that the case was sensitive and likely to lead to violence against the MP if she was freed on bail.
According to Joma, the utterances allegedly made by Karenyi were not only meant to cause hate against Mugabe but also demean his person and cause acrimony between supporters of the country’s two main parties; Zanu PF and MDC.
Karenyi, who is the MDC national organising secretary in the women’s assembly and chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee on local government, was not asked to plead when she appeared in court.
Tandiri asked the court to free the MP on bail, arguing that Karenyi was a married, honourable MP and a family person with three children and would therefore not abscond. He said the fact that the legislator had handed herself to the police after having been told of the charge was testimony that she was not a flight risk. Daily News
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