President Robert Mugabe’s nephew Robert Zhuwao, Chief Beperere (born Alfred Tome) of the Zvimba clan and Chief Negomo (Lucious Chitsinde) are witnesses in the case in which a Kariba pastor is being accused of prophesying the 93-year-old leader’s death.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
The trio, who were expected to testify in court yesterday, were left dejected after Harare magistrate Lazini Ncube postponed the matter to April 5.
The magistrate said the case clashed with another matter where the clergyman, Patrick Mugadza, is accused of bringing the Zimbabwe flag into disrepute.
Chief Beperere, Zhuwao and Chief Negomo could be seen milling around the court after the matter had been postponed.
However, the matter in which Mugadza is accused of abusing the Zimbabwean flag proceeded with arresting officer and namesake Kelvin Mugadza telling the court he received orders to arrest the cleric from his superiors.
The witness was taken to task by the cleric’s lawyers, Obey Shava, Gift Mtisi and Dorcas Chitiyo from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, over the decision to arrest him.
Under cross-examination, the arresting officer told the court that he had two years’ experience in the police force.
He admitted not having yet read the relevant legislation dealing with the national flag to understand if the clergyman had indeed broken any law. The witness was asked why he arrested Mugadza when he did not know if he had broken any law, to which he replied that he only responded to an order.
He further admitted Mugadza did not mutilate or burn the national flag.
Shava asked the witness if it was an offence to be found in possession of the Zimbabwe national flag, to which he said no.
Shava closed his cross-examination by asking the witness to confirm if he had arrested Mugadza on flag possession charges thinking that it was an offence, to which he replied yes.
Mugadza’s lawyers filed a notice to apply for discharge. The magistrate will make his ruling on April 7.
Francisca Mukumbiri prosecuted for the State.