15 December 2017

Zimbabwe: Armed Madzibaba Gathry Stalks President

Self-styled Harare prophet Gathry Chiredzero (popularly known as Madzibaba Gathry) allegedly masqueraded as a Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operative and stalked President Emmerson Mnangagwa while armed with a loaded pistol.

He positioned himself near the podium where the President was speaking at the swearing-in of Cabinet Ministers at State House and at the renaming of King George VI Barracks to Josiah Magama Tongogara Barracks.

Chiredzero (40) was apprehended at Josiah Magama Tongogara Barracks during the renaming function after he took position just near the podium where he pretended to be doing presidential security duties. He appeared before Harare magistrate Ms Rumbidzai Mugwagwa facing charges of possession of offensive weapons at public gatherings, forgery and impersonating a public official.

His lawyer Mr John Ndomene applied for his release, arguing that he was over-detained. He submitted that Chiredzero was detained by the military police from December 6 to 12, before he was handed over to the police.

Ms Mugwagwa ruled that there was no evidence to prove the claims and remanded Chiredzero in custody and adjourned the matter to today for bail application.

The prosecutor Mr Sebastian Mutizirwa alleged that on December 4, Chiredzero was spotted at the swearing in ceremony of Cabinet Ministers at State House. It is alleged that he was near the podium, controlling the movement of people. He was masquerading as a security agent.

It was later established that he had produced a fake CIO identity card at the security checkpoint to gain entry into State House. It is alleged that on December 6, he also attended a ceremony for renaming King George VI Barracks to Josiah Magama Tongogara Barracks.

Both programmes were officiated by President Mnangagwa and were attended by other senior Government officials, Service Chiefs and Zimbabwe National Army commanders, among others. The court heard that Chiredzero was in the company of two unidentified men and they were driving a blue BMW X5 registration number ADI 3317.

It is alleged that upon arrival at the function to rename the barracks, he approached the Zimbabwe Defence Intelligence personnel manning the main gate and identified himself and his accomplices as CIO Close Security Unit Officers deployed to beef up security to the President.

Chiredzero produced a fake CIO identity card bearing his names and as a result they were allowed entry into the barracks and they proceeded to the hall were celebrations were in progress. While at the venue, the suspect allegedly roamed around and positioned himself near the podium, where President Mnangagwa was addressing the gathering.

He was intercepted and quizzed, but Chiredzero insisted that he was a member of the CIO and he produced the fake identification card. While the document was being verified, his accomplices vanished. It was established that the identification was fake.

Chiredzero was searched and was found in possession of a 38 Special Amadeo Rossi S.A Revolver serial number AA757095 that was loaded with three live rounds and two spent cartridges.

He also had a fake Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission identity card inscribed Government of Zimbabwe Executive Director, Anti-Corruption, which he claimed to have obtained from the CIO and a fake metal driver's licence serial number 75600AM in his names.

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