SOUTH Africans used to saying almost anything they want on social media must remember to mind their tongues when visiting Zimbabwe.
According to a report in Friday’s Manica Post newspaper, Zimbabwean Titus Maposa (38) is currently being tried for forwarding a joke on 19 July about Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.
The text message that Titus forwarded was falsely attributed to Ecocash, Zimbabwe’s mobile money transfer scheme.
The message read: “Ecocash Transfer Confirmation: 1,500 US (R20 750) from Robert Gabriel Mugabe. Thank you for supporting ZANU-PF.”
ZANU-PF is Zim’s governing party and Mugabe is its president and first secretary.
Maposa was charged under a section of Zimbabwe’s Postal and Telecommunications Act which makes it illegal for people to send messages “knows to be false.”
Maposa reportedly insisted he didn’t mean to make his neighbours “anxious or nervous”.
“I was intending to share a social media joke,” he said.
Although Maposa was not being prosecuted under Zimbabwe’s infamous anti-insult laws, it remains a crime to insult Mugabe, who has been in power since 1980. Arrests are frequently reported under these laws, often for comments made on social media sites.
Nduna Matshazi, a councillor for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change in southern Zimbabwe, was reportedly arrested earlier this month for a message he sent on WhatsApp about Mugabe.