By Tendai Rupapa
Former Zanu-PF activist William Mutumanje, also known as Acie Lumumba, who is facing charges of undermining President Mugabe, was yesterday freed on $400 bail.
He used the “F” word to insult the President while addressing people during the launch of his political party called Viva Zimbabwe last week.
Lumumba was brought to court together with suspected violent protesters under heavy police guard. He appeared before Mr Vakayi Chikwekwe who ruled that he was not a flight risk.
Mr Chikwekwe released him on $400 bail coupled with stringent conditions, among them surrendering his passport and to report once a week to the police. He was remanded to July 15.
Mr Chikwekwe said bail was a fundamental right as enshrined in the new constitution which should be granted to a suspect. He added that seriousness of an offence on its own was not a ground to deny an accused person bail.
He said Lumumba surrendered himself to the police hence he was a proper candidate for bail.
Lumumba is being represented by Mr Arshiel Mugiya while Mr Oscar Madhume appeared for the State.
The State had opposed bail on the basis that there was overwhelming evidence against Lumumba.
The State called the investigating officer Detective Assistant Inspector Irvine Njanike from CID Law and Order section who concurred with the prosecution that the State’s case was strong.
Det Asst Insp Njanike said the demonstrations experienced across the country were as a result of Lumumba’s utterances hence if granted bail he was likely to incite more protesters.
He added that Lumumba was a flight risk.
“He surrendered himself but when he did so, he was not aware of the seriousness of his offence. He only came to know about the seriousness of the charge when I recorded his warned and cautioned statement,” Det Asst Insp Njanike said.
“There is overwhelming evidence and he is likely to face a jail term and that alone can induce him to abscond court. He once lived in other countries, therefore, if released on bail, he might flee to those countries like America.”
Det Asst Insp Njanike, however, left the gallery in stitches when he said that remanding Lumumba in custody was for his own safety since the public was likely to assault him for insulting their President. Through his lawyer, Lumumba argued that he was a proper candidate for bail adding that the offence he was facing was not serious.
Mr Mugiya said: “I am surprised why bail is being opposed because there are no reasons at all. He went to the police on his own, can that be argued that a person who exhibits such conduct is a flight risk? He was invited to the police through a newspaper article and he complied and went to the police and that conduct clearly shows that my client is not a flight risk. What he is facing is not a serious offence, this is not a rape or murder case.”
Mr Mugiya disputed Det Asst Insp Njanike’s claims that the demonstrations taking place were triggered by Lumumba’s utterances. It is the State’s case that on June 30, Lumumba, who was addressing people during the launch of his political party, said:
“Mr President Robert Gabriel Mugabe, f*** you. I am drawing the red line, our kids are in trouble so it is a red line I know and my name is Lumumba, Lumumba.”
It is further alleged that he went on to talk about the President’s children saying if anything happens to President Mugabe, his children would be dealt with. It is alleged he said:
“I am someone’s child, a war veteran’s child, you can touch me but I hope you live long because God forbid if something happens to you and you leave your kids, they will be touched too.” The Herald