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Ousted war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda has appeared before a Harare magistrate facing charges of insulting the President while addressing an unsanctioned gathering in Mutare recently.

Sibanda addressed the meeting, that was attended by senior Zanu-PF officials in Manicaland, last month.

The 56-year old Sibanda of number 6337 Nklumane in Bulawayo, appeared before provincial magistrate Mr Vakayi Chikwekwe and was remanded in custody to today.

He is charged with contravening section 33 (2) (b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23.

The State, represented by prosecutors Messrs Jonathan Murombedzi and Oliver Marwa, alleged that on October 27 this year at Herbert Mine in Mutasa, Sibanda addressed an illegal gathering of war veterans at the mine shaft.

The gathering was for the reburial of the bodies of exhumed liberation war fighters’ despite the event having been rescheduled to a later date by the Minister of Home Affairs Cde Kembo Mohadi.

Sibanda allegedly delivered a lengthy speech and said the President and his wife (Dr Grace Mugabe) were plotting a bedroom coup to remove Vice President Joice Mujuru and replace her with the First Lady.

He added that he was not prepared for that and that power was not “sexually transmitted.”

Sibanda’s lawyer, the former Attorney General Mr Sobusa Gula-Ndebele, challenged the placement on remand of Sibanda and the jurisdiction to prosecute him in Harare.

Mr Gula-Ndebele was, however, chided by Mr Chikwewe for “shopping for a court,” after opting for a Bulawayo court which he said was convenient for Sibanda.

Addressing the court, Mr Gula-Ndebele said Sibanda had not consented to be brought to a Harare court.

“He was picked up at his farm because he is a full-time farmer after being aised that he was being taken for discussions.

“He refuses to consent,” he said.

This prompted State to call the investigating officer Chief Superintendent Luckson Mukazhi to confirm that Sibanda agreed to have his matter heard in Harare.

“We asked him on Saturday and again this morning and he said the laws of Zimbabwe are the same whether in Muzarabani or elsewhere.

“This meant that he was willing to be tried in Harare and we proceeded to the Attorney General’s office for the authority to territorial jurisdiction,” he said.

While cross-examining the police officer Mr Gula-Ndebele told the court that Sibanda is not a lawyer and did not know the implications of jurisdiction.

In response, Chief Supt Mukazhi said it was clear that Sibanda had understood and had access to his lawyer any minute in case he wanted to verify.

However, in the midst of the disagreement Mr Murombedzi submitted that the matter could be heard in Mutare where the alleged offence was committed. Mr Gula-Ndebele told the court that taking the matter to Mutare would literally be punishing Sibanda.

“The accused don’t mind being taken to the police while we seek authority from the Attorney General to have the matter (heard) in Bulawayo,” he said.

Mr Chikwekwe told Mr Gula-Ndebele that what he was doing was tantamount to shopping for court and that he was changing goal posts.

Before Mr Chikwekwe could come up with a ruling in the argument, Mr Gula-Ndebele agreed to have the preliminary issues of the matter heard but said he wanted the trial to be done in Bulawayo.

He told the magistrate that he had taken a hostile position saying that that he (Gula-Ndebele) was changing goal posts was not complimentary.

He was ordered to withdraw his statement.

Source : The Herald