THE trial of MDC Alliance legislator Joel Gabbuza, facing charges of undermining and insulting President Emmerson Mnangagwa, is being stalled by Prosecutor-General Kumbirai Hodzi, who is yet to issue a certificate of authority.
BY SILAS NKALA
The MP’s lawyer, Thulani Nkala yesterday said his client continued to be placed on remand because the prosecution was waiting for a clearance from PG to prosecute the matter.
“The prosecution is still waiting for authority to prosecute from the PG,” Nkala said.
Gabbuza, on his last appearance in court before Hwange magistrate Livard Philemon, was remanded to March 1.
He is out of custody on $200 bail.
The Binga South legislator is denying the charges of undermining the authority of or insulting the President as defined in section 33(2)(b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
His bail conditions are that he must not interfere with witnesses and to reside at his given address until finalisation of the case.
The court heard that on October 23 last year, Gabbuza was at John Bwansula Mumpande’s homestead in Manzasiya village, Binga, where villagers had gathered for the burial of a family member.
It is the State’s case that as mourners were gathered at the grave site that morning, Gabbuza was invited to give a speech as the constituency’s legislator.
In his speech, Gabbuza allegedly undermined the authority of or insulted the President by saying in Tonga, “Inywe nubantu mulimalema, nwakasala mubwa utakonzyi kutonga nyika takuchikwe mafuta mapilisi, ime ndakaya kuZambia kuyowula mafuta akuti tuzoligwasye mabambe ano adilye. Ndambula utanyeme anyeme biyo,” which loosely translates to: “You people are fools. You have chosen a dog, who cannot manage to rule the country, there is no fuel, medication and I had to go to Zambia to buy fuel, which we have used at this funeral. I have said so and if there is anyone who is angered about this, I do not have any problem.”
This did not go down well with one of the villagers, who reported the matter at Binga Police Station on October 29, leading to Gabbuza’s arrest.