DEPUTY CHIEF WRITER 14 March 2017
HARARE – Prominent human rights lawyer Obey Shava has said he suspects an
“evil hand” is behind the clerk of court’s denial to accept cleric Phillip
Mugadza’s bail money last Friday.
The clerk claimed he wanted to first verify the authenticity of the High
Mugadza – arrested after allegedly prophesying that President Robert
Mugabe will die on October 17 this year – had to endure the weekend behind
bars, despite having been freed on $50 bail by High Court judge Priscillah
His attorney, Shava, yesterday told the Daily News that the clerk’s
actions were unlawful.
“I am seeing an evil hand behind her (clerk) actions. The clerk’s conduct
is clearly unconstitutional. It’s not up to her to question the
authenticity of a court order. I am an officer of the court and there is
no way I could have misled her, especially in a case which has attracted
so much publicity,” he said.
“What confirms the malice and impropriety of her conduct is that if she
needed any confirmation, she could have resolved her concern by a mere
phone call to the High Court registrar,” Shava said, as he finalised
papers for the release of his client.
Mugadza had spent over a month behind bars.
He had remained in custody after being denied bail by Harare magistrate
Vongai Guwuriro on January 19, on the basis that he had the propensity to
commit more similar offences.
The Remnant Church leader is being charged with insulting the Christian
and African traditional religions, with the State claiming that predicting
someone’s death is a taboo.
His trial has been set down for March 30.
Mugadza first hit the headlines in December 2015 when he staged a one-man
protest against Mugabe in Victoria Falls during Zanu PF’s national
conference at the resort, where he held a placard that read: “Mr
President, the people are suffering. Proverbs 21:13“.
His death prophecy has caused palpable anger within sections of Zanu PF –
which is riven by its seemingly unstoppable tribal, factional and
The outspoken Mugadza faces six months’ imprisonment or a fine of $200 if
he is convicted under Section 33 of the Criminal Law.
In making his controversial “prophecy”, Mugadza had also said that the
nonagenarian could escape death by praying fervently, fasting and publicly
announcing that he did not wish to die.
“I am not saying I am going to be killing him on October 17, so there is
no way anybody can say to me what you have done is wrong. I am not going
to be killing anybody, I am only saying what God told me, that he is going
to die,” he said then.