Kariba pastor and Remnants Church leader, Patrick Philip Mugadza, who is accused of prophesying President Robert Mugabe’s death, yesterday applied for exception of charges, while asking the court to remove him from remand.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Mugadza, who is represented by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights members, Obey Shava, Gift Mtisi, David Hofisi and Dorcas Chitiyo, said his charge sheet was pregnant with meaningless statements that had left him guessing and speculating as to what offence he was facing.
The charge sheet reads: “The statements made and published were insulting or otherwise grossly provocative and caused offence to persons of a particular race, tribe, place of origin, creed or religion intending to cause such offence or realising there is a risk or possibility of doing so.”
But his lawyers said the statement was “vague and absurd”.
Shava told the court that the proceedings could not continue on the basis of such a defective charge.
He further told court that the State failed to mention a single race, tribe, place of origin, creed or religion, which was offended by the statement as enshrined in the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act.
“The accused is left embarrassed as, up to this point, he is unaware of which race, tribe, and place of origin, creed or religion which was caused offence. This causes obvious prejudice to his ability to prepare and present a defence,” he said.
Shava said the charge sheet in the matter was calculated to cause prejudice and embarrass Mugadza in its failure to mention essential elements of the offence.
The State, represented by Venetia Matake, did not respond to the application, saying it preferred submitting a written response.
The application left the three State witnesses – Mugabe’s nephew Robert Zhuwao, Chief Beperere, born Alfred Tome of the Zvimba clan, and Chief Negomo (Lucious Chitsinde) – dejected, as they have been itching to testify against the clergymen since last week.
They accuse the cleric of violating an African taboo.