Tarisai Machakaire 5 May 2017
HARARE – Activist cleric Phillip Mugadza – famed for allegedly prophesying
that President Robert Mugabe will die on October 17 this year – has
slammed the State for discriminating him on religious grounds.
Mugadza, who argued that the State charged him for exercising his
Christian beliefs, appeared before Harare magistrate Victoria Mashamba and
made an application for referral of his case to the Constitutional Court
because the charges infringed on his personal rights.
He is being charged with insulting a certain race or religion and
alternatively criminal nuisance, charges which his lawyer David Hofisi
said were vague and generalised and failed to highlight exactly what crime
his client is alleged to have committed.
“…the laws are so wide that no one can establish what will cause an
offence to an entire tribe or religion,” Hofisi said.
“The nature of the right to freedom of expression is so fundamental that
there is no justifiable reason to protect people from being offended or
indeed to protect people’s comfort, convenience, peace or quiet by
engaging in the criminal law in this manner.
“Thus, it is submitted that Sections 42 and 46 of the Criminal Law Code
are in violation of Section 61(1) (a) of the Constitution and it is prayed
that this matter is referred to the Constitutional Court.”
Mugadza also added in an affidavit attached to the application that
“religious differences ought to have religious remedies without the need
for arrest and prosecution”.
“A Christian need not worry that by proclaiming Jesus they may be causing
an offence to a Muslim that is not the scope of freedom of