Copac co-chairperson and legislator for Nyanga North Douglas Mwonzora refused to be served with summons to appear in court Monday where he was supposed to answer to charges of reportedly calling President Robert Mugabe a “goblin”.
His lawyer Tinoziva Bere confirmed in an interview last night that the trial had been set for Monday but Mwonzora had advised the policeman who had intended to serve him with the summons that he was unavailable because he was busy with the constitution-making process.
“There were attempts by the prosecutors today to apply for a warrant of arrest to be served against Honourable Mwonzora but they failed,” Bere said.
“After studying the documentation made by the constable who had intended to serve the MP with the summons, it was found that the Honourable MP had not absconded. We ended up agreeing on another day and the MP is ready and keen to stand trial for the frivolous charges.”
Mwonzora is being charged for undermining the authority or insulting the Office of the President.
Bere said it would have been absurd for the court to issue a warrant of arrest against an MP who excused himself from attending court because he was tied up in important constitutional duties.
“The MP is ready to face his accusers and I should emphasise that we are concerned that the Attorney-General’s Office is so keen to take serious complaints by a police officer alleging my client criticised a political opponent while ignoring cases where people were killed or maimed,” he said.
Mwonzora was last month summoned by investigating officer Detective Assistant Inspector Felix Mawonedze to appear at the Mutare magistrates’ court on charges of insulting the President but said he was on national duty.
In his affidavit Mawonedze said he had been trying to locate Mwonzora for a long time and was failing to get through to his mobile number.
Mawonedze said he finally located Mwonzora on August 22 this year at Nyamhuka Township in Nyanga and advised him that he was due to appear in court on September 6.
Mawonedze told the court that Mwonzora said he could not serve him for the given date as he would still be performing Copac duties and that there was nothing to hurry for as the matter was not a criminal case but of a political nature.
Allegations against the MP are that on March 21 last year at Ruwangwe Growth Point in Nyanga at an MDC-T political rally, Mwonzora reportedly insulted President Mugabe by calling him a goblin.
“Mugabe chikwambo uye achamhanya. Ndawona Mugabe achigeza tauro muchuwuno, sipo muhapwa uye ndebvu hupepe. Pamberi neMDC pasi nechihurumende chembavha. (Mugabe is a goblin and will run.
“I saw Mugabe bathing, towel around the waist, soap in the armpit and an overgrown beard.
Forward with the MDC and down with a government of thieves),” Mwonzora allegedly said at the rally in 2009.
Mwonzora said the case could be set down for a hearing in December and he would contact the provincial chief law officer Michael Mugabe with the suggestion.
On the second charge, Mwonzora is said to have undermined police when he allegedly said they were being used by Zanu PF to intimidate villagers.