A Zimbabwe lawyer will stand trial next month after he was arrested and charged with undermining police authority when he allegedly mocked some vendors, who were being rounded up by some police officers, for making wrong choices when they voted during the harmonised elections held in August.
Kenias Shonhai, the Founding and Managing Partner of Shonhai Law Chambers appeared at Harare Magistrates Court on Thursday 9 November 2023 answering to charges undermining police authority as defined in section 177(1) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
Shonhai was arrested by ZRP officers on Wednesday 18 October 2023 in the capital city’s Avenues area, near the offices of his law firm and was detained at Harare Central Police Station before he was released on Thursday 19 October 2023.
On Thursday 9 November 2023, prosecutors told Harare Magistrate Ethel Chichera that Shonhai undermined police authority when he told some vendors that they were now being subjected to arrest by ZRP officers because they had failed to heed his advice to vote wisely during the harmonised elections held in August.
The prosecutors claimed that Shonhai, who is represented by Paidamoyo Saurombe of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, encouraged ZRP officers to arrest the vendors because they had made some wrong choices when they voted.
Prosecutors charged that Shonhai’s alleged utterances were intended to engender feelings of hostility towards ZRP officers and exposing them to contempt, ridicule or low esteem.
The legal practitioner returns to court on 5 December 2023 when his trial is scheduled to commence.
Shonhai becomes the latest legal practitioner to be prosecuted after ZRP officers arrested human rights lawyers Tapiwa Muchineripi and Doug Coltart at a Harare hospital on 4 September 2023 and charged them with defeating or obstructing the course of justice as defined in section 184 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, when they reportedly objected to have their clients, who were victims of abduction and torture, quizzed by law enforcement agents.