Kombayi gets ConCourt reprieve

Hamutendi Kombayi

Gweru Provincial Magistrate, Pathekhile Msipa yesterday granted an application by suspended Gweru mayor, Hamutendi Kombayi to have a matter in which he is accused of sending offensive messages to Local Government ministry permanent secretary, George Mlilo referred to the Constitutional Court.

By Stephen Chadenga

Last month, Kombayi (39) of Kopje Suburb, Gweru, appeared before Msipa facing charges of violating section 88 of the Postal and Telecommunications Act.

It is alleged that in December last year, while he was in the United Kingdom, Kombayi sent offensive messages through his mobile phone to Mlilo.

Kombayi, through his lawyer, Reginald Chidawanyika, made an application to have the matter referred to the Constitutional Court, arguing that the charge violated his right to freedom of expression, as guaranteed by section 61 of the Constitution.

Although the State had earlier opposed the application as frivolous and vexatious, saying it lacked merit, Msipa ruled that it should be referred to the apex court.

“The application is, hereby, granted and referred to the Constitutional Court for determination,” she said in her ruling.

Msipa, in making her ruling, said she was guided by cases of a similar nature that were recently referred to the Constitutional Court.

She said the ConCourt would also make a determination on the jurisdiction of the matter, since Kombayi sent the alleged messages when he was in the UK.

The State’s case is that on December 24 last year, Kombayi sent a message to 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.”

The State further alleges that on the following day, Kombayi sent another message threatening Mlilo.

“Audit tells you the problem, you decide. A suicide bomb will blast you,” the alleged message read.