Tshabangu activist struggles to pay $100 fine after being convicted of cyberbullying – ZimEye

Tshabangu activist struggles to pay $100 fine after being convicted of cyberbullying

By Dorothy Moyo | Bulawayo Magistrate Challenge Mahembe has convicted Soneni Moyo, a member of the Sengezo-Tshabangu Coalition, for sending offensive messages via WhatsApp and fined her US$100 or its equivalent in Zimbabwe dollars. The fine must be paid by June 28, 2024, otherwise Moyo faces a two-month prison sentence.

Soneni Moyo

Soneni Moyo, who had contested the Phelandaba-Tshabalala constituency in the 2023 harmonized elections, has been unable to raise the necessary funds to cover her fine, and sources close to her indicate that no one is willing to help her financially. This development is particularly notable as it suggests a lack of support within her own political circles, possibly due to the nature of her crime or her current political dynamics.

Moyo was charged under Section 88(a) of the Posts and Telecommunications Act, Chapter 12:05, for sending a series of messages that were described as grossly offensive, indecent, obscene or threatening. The offensive messages were directed at his rival, Raymond Gombedza, and included derogatory statements involving his mother.

The court’s decision to impose a fine rather than an outright prison sentence came with a stern warning: a three-month sentence has been fully suspended on the condition that Moyo does not commit a similar offense in the next four years.

This case highlights the significant impact of cyberbullying and the seriousness with which the Zimbabwe judicial system is addressing crimes related to digital communication. As the deadline for payment of the fine approaches, it remains to be seen how Moyo will overcome this financial and reputational hurdle.

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