ZIMBABWE – A pastor from a Pentecostal church in Kariba on Tuesday appeared in court charged with criminal nuisance after he allegedly carried placards at the just ended Zanu PF conference denouncing President Robert Mugabe.
Patrick Mugadza, 45, travelled all the way from Kariba to Victoria Falls on Friday to stage a demonstration against the Zanu PF leadership.
He carried a placard written “Mr President the people are suffering, Proverbs 21:13” as he moved around the streets of Victoria Falls.
The state alleges that Mugadza’s conduct disturbed and blocked people thereby disturbing peace.
Mugadza is a pastor at a church called Remnant Church.
Members of the public tipped cops who arrested Mugadza on Friday.
He appeared before Victoria Falls magistrate Lindiwe Maphosa Tuesday charged with criminal nuisance.
The magistrate released Mugadza on $500 bail coupled with reporting conditions, once a week on Monday at the nearest police station in Kariba, not to interfere with witnesses and to reside at his address.
He returns to court on January 5, 2016.
Mugadza’s lawyer Thulani Nkala of Dube and Company argued that his client was being violated as what he did was his constitutional right.
“It’s the accused’ submission that there was no offence as he was merely exercising his constitutional right which is enshrined in the constitution,” said Nkala as he applied for refusal of remand.
“Everyone has the right to demonstrate and present a petition. He was merely carrying a placard with no violence and didn’t even force members of the public to join him.
“It is on this basis that we apply that the accused should not be placed on remand as it is folly to allege that demonstrations are a nuisance because they are provided for in the constitution. My client wouldn’t have come all the way from Kariba to be a nuisance.”
The magistrate dismissed the application, saying as much as it is a constitutional right to demonstrate, that right must not be seen to infringe on other people’s rights.
Prosecuting, Listen Nare said on Friday at 4PM opposite Bata Building in Victoria Fallsm, Mugadza walked along the street carrying a placard thereby disturbing the movement of people who were going to the Zanu PF conference.
This comes after a Zanu PF MP Justice Mayor Wadyajena was charged for making ‘insulting remarks’ about First Lady Grace Mugabe.
More than 100 people have been arrested for denigrating Mugabe in the past decade.