A 38-year-old Zimbabwean man named Titus Maposa has been jailed for forwarding a joke on Mugabe to all his neighbours. According to Manica Post newspaper, Maposa’s neighbours sent the text message to the police and he was arrested.
The offending joke was a message falsely attributed to Ecocash, Zimbabwe’s mobile money transfer scheme, which said the president had deposited $1 500 (R20 745) into their account. The newspaper said the message read:
“Ecocash Transfer Confirmation: 1,500 US from Robert Gabriel Mugabe. Thank you for supporting ZANU-PF.”
Maposa was being charged under a section of Zimbabwe’s Postal and Telecommunications Act prohibiting the sending of messages the sender “knows to be false.”
The report said Maposa insisted he did not 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 site.