13 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Mangoma Trial Opens

THE trial of Energy and Power Development Minister Elton Mangoma on allegations of undermining the authority of the country's President opened yesterday at the Bindura Magistrates' Court. He is accused of insulting President Robert Mugabe while addressing an MDC-T gathering at Manhenga business centre in Bindura on May 18 this year.

Mangoma, who is represented by Ms Beatrice Mtetwa and Mr Selby Hwacha, pleaded not guilty to the charges saying his prosecution was politically motivated.

The State led by Mashonaland Central area public prosecutor Mr Emmanuel Muchenga accuses the minister of shouting insulting words about the President at a gathering in Bindura early this year.

He allegedly shouted "Chibva Mugabe Chibva. Chifa Mugabe Chifa" (Go Mugabe Go. Die Mugabe Die) while addressing a gathering at a hand over ceremony of a vehicle to the MDC-T in the province.

Mangoma denied ever shouting the words "Chifa Mugabe Chifa".

Instead, he confirmed chanting a slogan "Chibva Mugabe Chibva".

He maintains that the words he said do not constitute the prohibited utterances.

The prosecution, the lawyers said, was a continuation of his political persecution through the abuse of the criminal justice system.

The State's first witness detective sergeant Hermish Kamuzimbi insisted that Mangoma shouted all the alleged words and that he wished the death of President Mugabe.

Magistrate Ms Tendai Chifamba issued a warrant of arrest against a second State witness, police detective constable Kelvin Chidaushe, for failure to attend court.

The trial continues on January 4 next year.

The words allegedly inspired feelings of hostility towards the President.

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