HARARE Magistrate Vongai Muchuchutu on Thursday denied bail to Remnant Pentecostal Church leader Pastor Phillip Patrick Mugadza, who was arrested on Monday 16 January 2017 and charged with criminal nuisance after he allegedly prophesied that President Robert Mugabe will die this year.

In denying bail to Pastor Mugadza, who is represented by Gift Mtisi of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Magistrate Muchuchutu ruled that the clergyman has a propensity to commit similar offences.

Earlier on, Magistrate Muchuchutu dismissed an application filed by Mtisi challenging the lawfulness of the clergyman’s arrest and detention. Mtisi had argued that the clergyman’s constitutional right to be brought to court from police cells within 48 hours had been violated as he was only hauled to court after 51 hours.

Magistrate Muchuchutu also dismissed Mtisi’s application for refusal of placement of Pastor Mugadza on remand.

Pastor Mugadza was arrested on Monday 16 January 2017 and charged with contravening Section 42 (2) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 alternatively criminal nuisance as defined in Section 46 (2) (v) of the third schedule to the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23.

Prosecutors charged that Pastor Mugadza caused the publication of a story in an online publication, The Zimbabwe Mail on Friday 13 January 2017 entitled “Pastor Mugadza says President Mugabe to die in October 2017, thus says the Lord”.

Prosecutors claimed that Pastor Mugadza allegedly insulted the Christian religion and the African tradition by uttering some words which are a taboo to predict someone’s death and words to the effect that; “It was on the 26th December 2016 when I was in prayer and God said to me this coming 2017 the President is dying and he told me that he is dying on 17 October 2017, like I said earlier on that am not happy for someone to die but this is something that is going to happen. People may ask me if what he does not die. I do not know how much he believes in prayer but he has to do something about this prophecy”.

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