Zim Labourer Faces Jail Over Mugabe Health Remarks

Zebediah Mpofu, a 53 year-old security guard, has been summoned to stand trial on August 14 at Mbare magistrates court.

State authorities charge that Mpofu insulted Mugabe when he taunted Gilbert Matarutse, a work-mate at the security firm, who supports the octogenarian leaders’ Zanu (PF) party that he should thank MDC leader and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai for easing the country’s decade long economic and political crisis when he formed a coalition government with the former guerrilla leader.

“…the accused unlawfully made a statement in a public place about or concerning the President by saying that the President has ruined the country and that he was going to be dead by December 2010 with the knowledge or realising that there is a real risk or possibility that the statement is false and that it may engender feelings of hostility towards the President in person or in respect of the President’s office,” reads part of the summons served on Mpofu.

Apparently, Mpofu, who was represented by Jeremiah Bamu of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, was removed from remand in October last year by a Mbare Magistrate after state witnesses failed to pitch up in court during his scheduled trial.

At that time prosecutors alleged that Mpofu told Matarutse during a lunchtime chat that he owed a fruity drink and a packet of biscuits he was enjoying for lunch to sound economic policies spearheaded by Tsvangirai, the first opposition leader to trounce President Mugabe in presidential polls in 2008, who formed a coalition government with the Zanu (PF) leader after the Southern African Development Community (SADC) recommended such a settlement to end the political crisis.

The prosecutors also alleged that Mpofu also stated that “President Mugabe had ruined the country and that he was going to be dead by December 2010 then Morgan Tsvangirai would take over as President of Zimbabwe”.

ZLHR, which is representing more than 40 Zimbabweans accused of insulting Mugabe in nearly all of the country’s ten provinces, say the use and abuse of insult laws is an attempt to gag political views from Mugabe and his Zanu (PF) opponents ahead of a planned referendum and general elections.