Tarisai Machakaire 6 April 2017
HARARE – Cleric Phillip Mugadza yesterday took exception to charges of
allegedly prophesying President Robert Mugabe’s death at the commencement
of his trial.
Mugadza is answering to charges of insulting or grossly provoking a
particular race, tribe, place of origin, colour creed or religion and
alternatively criminal nuisance.
A preacher in the tourist resort town of Kariba, Mugadza told journalists
in January that he had received a prophecy from God that Mugabe would die
on October 17.
Mugabe’s nephew Robert Zhuwao, Chief Beperere (born Alfred Tome) of the
Zvimba clan and Chief Negomo (Lucious Chitsinde) were billed to testify
against Mugadza before the application was presented.
Mugadza’s lawyer Obey Shava objected to proceeding with the trial on the
basis that the State had generalised the offence and failed to fully
outline facts that constitute the charge he faces.
“Asking an accused person to guess or speculate the race, tribe, place or
origin, creed or religion which was caused offence is obviously
“The State has failed to provide a statement of the short and distinct
nature of the offence in question or…providing sufficient detail of the
set of persons who the accused is alleged to have caused offence,” Shava
argued in court.
“The accused is unable to prepare and present a defence since the letter
of the law has not been followed.
“It is vague and embarrassing as it leaves the accused person confused and
speculating as to the true nature of the charge he faces and the case he
has to answer.”
Shava further argued that the alternative charge of criminal nuisance was
vague and not reflective of distinct requirements necessary for a person
to be charged under that section.
“The charge sheet does not indicate if the accused person is charged with
employing means likely to interfere with the public’s ordinary comfort,
convenience, peace or quiet or with doing any act likely to create a
nuisance,” Shava said.
“It is vital to recall that the provision of sufficient detail of the
charge to an accused person as well as facilities to prepare a defence are
now constitutional rights as shown by sections 70 (1) (b) and (c).”
Mugadza was freed on $50 bail earlier last month, after spending over a
month behind bars after his arrest in January following the controversial
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.