ZIMBABWE – Magistrate Lindiwe Maphosa on Thursday referred Remnant Church senior Pastor Patrick Philip Mugadza’s case to the Constitutional Court.
Mugadza is on $50 bail for contravening Section 46 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 after he staged a one man demonstration against President Robert Mugabe in December last year during Zanu PF’s annual conference in the resort town.
Magistrate Maphosa referred Mugadza’s case to the Constitutional court after his attorney Lizwe Jamela of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights had applied to the court seeking for the permission for the case to be heard by the top court.
In his application, Jamela argued that his client had a constitutional right to demonstrate and express himself.
It is not for this court to determine whether the alleged contravention of the declaration of rights actually took place, said Jamela in the application.
That is an issue for the Constitutional Court to deal with. All that this court is empowered to do is to determine whether or not the request is frivolous or vexatious, he argued.
The state’s allegations in the case are that the pastor unlawfully and intentionally disturbed the free passage along a road by walking along carrying a placard written â€œMr President People are suffering Proverbs 21:13.
The state argues that Mugadza’s conduct amounted to criminal nuisance as it disturbed the free movement of other people.
For the avoidance of doubt this was an orderly and peaceful display as well as public preaching to send a religious message to the public and the president who happened to be in Victoria Falls at the time in question.
The alleged placard as captured carried a biblical message found in the book of Proverbs 21 verse 13; this was delivering and expression of a message in terms of the accused person’s religious belief and calling , reads the application.
In a telephone interview with NewZimbabwe.com, Jamela confirmed the development.
Pastor Mugadza spent the Christmas holiday in the cells after he was arrested for his protest. On his release, he said he had no regrets and vowed to continue to press for reform. A few days later, he visited the home of abducted and missing journalist Itai Dzamara and prayed for his family.