Harare – A 25-year-old man who was arrested after re-tweeting a post from a fake Priscilla Chigumba account has stated his wish to make an application to change his guilty plea.
Shadaya Tawona who is being charged with criminal insult after retweeting a message purportedly belonging to Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chair Justice Priscilla Chigumba appeared before Harare magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa.
Mugwagwa will tomorrow make a ruling on the application. Shadaya is represented by Zimbabwe Human Rights Lawyer Noble Chinhanu.
During their application they said; “We have noted that when the accused pleaded guilty, it was not put to him whether, the alleged retweet was from the complainant’s real account or a fake account.
“In the event that the retweet was from a legitimate account, then there is no offence to talk of, he would have simply repeated what Chigumba would have said and that is not an offence.
“He is no facing charges of creating the ‘fake’ account and tweeting anything under the guise that he is Chigumba, all he did was simply retweet what had been said and he did not edify the message.”
Prosecutor Francisca Mukumbiri opposed the application indicating that the defense council had not brought any reasonable reasons for changing the plea since Shadaya had allegedly pleaded guilty and had also apologized for the offence before court.
It is the State’s case that sometime in August, an unknown person created an account in the name of Chigumba, the complainant in the case.
In the same month, Shadaya allegedly retweeted an offensive message from the account. His conduct soiled Justice Chigumba’s dignity, it is alleged. Chigumba was allegedly alerted by a friend who came across the message on Twitter. She, however, denied having a twitter account.
Shadaya initially pleaded guilty indicating that he had been drunk when he retweeted the tweet.