A Bulawayo businessman, Brain Davison Foster (60), was on Wednesday acquitted on charges of insulting President Robert Mugabe after the two key State witnesses who are policemen disowned their statements.
The two said they only heard of the purported remarks from a colleague, one Sergeant Kuvarega.
Foster was arrested on May 19, 2010 on allegations of insulting and undermining the authority of Mugabe.
He is alleged to have said policemen who stopped him at a roadblock along Victoria Falls Road wanted to raise money for a “broke and poor government of Mugabe”.
Lupane magistrate, Takudzwa Gwazemba found Foster not guilty and acquitted him, citing lack of evidence.
This was after Foster’s lawyer, Matshobana Ncube, assisted by Kucaca Phulu, applied for his discharge at the close of the State case.
The State had called two witnesses, a Sergeant Shoko and Constable Mubayiwa, who arrested Foster.
But the duo told the court that they only heard Foster saying “Raising money” and heard the remainder of the statement “. . . for broke and poor government of Mugabe” from Kuvarega.
Kuvarega is reportedly on the run in relation to a different crime.
The State alleged that on May 19 2010, Foster was driving towards Victoria Falls along the Bulawayo—Victoria Falls road.
He was arrested by three police officers along the way and was charged with speeding.
When Foster was asked to produce his driver’s licence and pay a fine for the offence, he allegedly started shouting at the police officers, dragging the President’s name into the heated conversation before driving off.
He was later arrested by police in Victoria Falls after a tip-off.
In his defence last year, Foster said he never undermined the authority of the President or insulted him, saying he told the police officers that he would pay the fine as the government of Zimbabwe needed the money.
He said the officers refused to fine him as they wanted a bribe.