Harare - A prominent Zimbabwean cleric, who prophesied that President Robert Mugabe would die this year, was arraigned before a Harare magistrate on Wednesday, facing charges of causing offence to persons of a particular race, religion or creed, or alternatively criminal nuisance.
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Prosecutors said it was taboo for 46-year-old pastor Patrick Mugadza of the Remnant Church to predict Mugabe's death through a prophecy.
Mugadza was quoted as saying that Mugabe, 92, would die on October 17 this year and urged the nonagenarian to pray hard in order to avoid the impending death.
One of Mugadza's attorneys, Gift Mtisi, told the court that the clergyman was over-detained in violation of Zimbabwe's new constitution adopted in 2013 and urged the court to release his client immediately.
"The accused person was brought to court after 48 hour period stipulated in the constitution and therefore his arraignment before this court is illegal and we therefore urge this honorable court to release him unconditionally," submitted Mtisi.
But in passing judgement, magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti dismissed the defence application, saying Mugadza's consitutional rights had not been trampled on.
The magistrate said she would hand down her judgement on Thursday.
Mugadza first came to prominence in December 2015 when he was arrested for staging a one-man protest against Mugabe in Victoria Falls.
Pastor Patrick Mugadza arrives at court in a police vehicle. (Frank Chikowore, News24)
Detectives escort Pastor Patrick Mugadza into court. (Frank Chikowore, News24)