State discriminating me: Mugadza

HARARE - Activist cleric Phillip Mugadza — famed for allegedly prophesying that President Robert Mugabe will die on October 17 this year — has slammed the State for discriminating him on religious grounds.

Mugadza, who argued that the State charged him for exercising his Christian beliefs, appeared before Harare magistrate Victoria Mashamba and made an application for referral of his case to the Constitutional Court because the charges infringed on his personal rights.

He is being charged with insulting a certain race or religion and alternatively criminal nuisance, charges which his lawyer David Hofisi said were vague and generalised and failed to highlight exactly what crime his client is alleged to have committed.

“…the laws are so wide that no one can establish what will cause an offence to an entire tribe or religion,” Hofisi said.

“The nature of the right to freedom of expression is so fundamental that there is no justifiable reason to protect people from being offended or indeed to protect people’s comfort, convenience, peace or quiet by engaging in the criminal law in this manner.

“Thus, it is submitted that Sections 42 and 46 of the Criminal Law Code are in violation of Section 61(1) (a) of the Constitution and it is prayed that this matter is referred to the Constitutional Court.”

Mugadza also added in an affidavit attached to the application that “religious differences ought to have religious remedies without the need for arrest and prosecution”.

“A Christian need not worry that by proclaiming Jesus they may be causing an offence to a Muslim that is not the scope of freedom of conscience.....”

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