Harare court officials on Monday ordered a 52-year-old Zimbabwean man to stand trial for allegedly telling a work colleague that President Robert Mugabe‘s death was imminent in an apparent joke that misfired.
Zebedia Mpofu allegedly mocked a colleague, informing him that a soft drink and packet of biscuits he was having for lunch came courtesy of Zimbabwe’s economic policies under Mugabe’s main rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Mpofu, a general labourer at a private security firm in Harare, has been charged with undermining the authority or insulting the president.
“He went further to say that President Mugabe had ruined the country and that he was going to be dead by December 2011. Then Morgan Tsvangirai would take over as President of Zimbabwe,” according to the state case, which ordered Mpofu to report to court.
Jeremiah Bamu of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights successfully asked the court to move the trial date to August 11 to have time to prepare a defence.
Mpofu joins several other Zimbabweans, from politicians to ordinary villagers, mainly from Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change party, who are facing charges of insulting or undermining Mugabe.