ZIMBABWE – Chipinge – What was intended as a WhatsApp joke has landed a local man in hot soup after he was arrested by police for impersonating President Robert Mugabe through a false Ecocash text message.
Titus Maposa, 38, of Mbanje Farm, Laughing Waters under Chief Mutema was recently sentenced to three months in prison but can avoid jail time by paying a $200 fine.
He appeared before the Chipinge magistrate’s court charged with sending a contrived text message to one Timothy Parenyi and Zaphaniah Mwakanya with an intention “to annoy, tease, and cause anxiety”.
The message read: “Ecocash Transfer Confirmation: $1,500 from Robert Gabriel Mugabe.
“Thank you for supporting Zanu PF. Mupewo vamwe ndezvemusangano izvi, imari yemadiamonds iyi musatya zvenyu (share with others; these are party funds. This is money from diamonds; have no fear).”
In his defence, Maposa said he did not intend to offend the complainants, adding they live in the same village and regularly share jokes via WhatsApp.
“I did not know they would take it this far because we always share jokes via WhatsApp.
“This is a joke which went viral on social media and I received it from someone via social media,” said Maposa.
Prosecutors Brian Madzura told the court that on July 19 this year and at around 1700hrs, Maposa sent a text message to Parenyi and Zaphania using an Econet line.
The prosecutor said the text affected the morale of the victims who allegedly succumbed to anxiousness and nervousness.