Police have arrested a teenager and charged him with cyber-bullying and harassment in yet another onslaught against perceived opponents of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ruling ZANU PF party.
By Charles Dzimwasha
Police officers on Tuesday 15 November 2022 arrested Tafadzwa Jaji, a 19 year-old student at Mutare Polytechnic College, and charged him with cyber-bullying and harassment as defined in section 164(B) of the Data Protection Act.
Prosecutors alleged that Jaji, who is represented by Peggy Tavagadza of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), generated and sent “abusive voice note messages” on Mutare Polly Diaries WhatsApp group, accusing some ZANU PF party members of being murderers, dogs and claiming that the ruling party is rotten.
By doing so, prosecutors charged that Jaji intended to coerce, intimidate, harass, threaten, bully, cause substantial emotional distress, degrade, humiliate and demean members of the Mutare Polly Diaries WhatsApp group.
The prosecutors also alleged that Jaji insulted members on the WhatsApp group by using vulgar language. The electrical power engineering student, who appeared before Mutare Magistrate Langton Mukwengi on Wednesday 16 November 2022, was released on free bail and returns to court on 15 December 2022.
Jaji is the latest person to be arrested and represented by ZLHR on charges of contravening the Data Protection Act. In May 2022, Chegutu resident Emmanuel Magunda was apprehended and charged with cyber-bullying and harassment for allegedly sending an image on a Whatsapp group titled Berina News of a cockroach bearing the head of President Mnangagwa, which police officers said was derogatory of the ZANU PF party leader.