A 38-year-old policeman who allegedly insulted chief police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba by labelling her "an idiot" for not condemning public lawlessness, has been suspended from duty.
James Mabasa, who is based at Police General Headquarters (PGHQ), reportedly made the remarks on a WhatsApp platform sometime in May this year. Mabasa appeared in court on Wednesday before Harare Magistrate Ms Nomsa Sabarauta who postponed the matter to October 5. National police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi yesterday confirmed that Mabasa had been suspended from duty.
"He is on suspension for committing a crime under the Police Act. However, contrary to reports that he is off the hook or has been removed from remand, the officer will appear in court on October 5.
"Yesterday (on Wednesday), his lawyer requested to be served with the State papers and that is the reason why the trial did not kick off. The matter is still at the courts," he said.
Mabasa was arrested in May this year by detectives from the CID Homicide after they received an anonymous WhatsApp message denigrating Snr Asst Comm Charamba.
Prosecutor Ms Francisca Mukumbiri said allegations are that on May 15 this year, Mabasa sent a message to the group, which read: "The police used to hold meetings with magistrates and other law enforcement stakeholders to map a way forward, reducing lawlessness, but now it's the other way round, the public have meetings with lawyers on ways to disregard police.
"The public relations office is headed by an idiot, who doesn't know that she has to encourage the public to be compliant to the police." Investigations, which were carried out revealed that the phone belonged to Mabasa, leading to his arrest.
This was after he was searched and the mobile phone he used to send the denigrating message was found in his possession and the message was also discovered in the phone. It is alleged Mabasa tried to destroy his phone by smashing it on the floor in an effort to get rid of the message.