The backlash over President Robert Mugabe’s near-fall in India last week has claimed its first scalp after former Chinhoyi MDC-T councillor, Tendai Musonza was arraigned in court yesterday on charges of “undermining the office of the president” by uttering derogatory words.
BY NUNURAI JENA
It is the State case that on October 29, at Chonde barbershop in Chinhoyi CBD, Musonza upon meeting a Zanu PF activist wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the President’s face shouted: “Vanhu imi hamungarambe muchitongwa nekamudhara kavenemakore 91 years, uye kanoramba kachingodonha [You people, we cannot continue to be ruled by a 91-year-old man that continues to fall on his own.
Musonza pleaded not guilty to the charge when he appeared before Chinhoyi magistrate Felix Mawadze. He was remanded to November 16 on free bail for trial.
Kudzai Choga of Muchineripi and Associates appeared for Musonza, while Claudius Karinga prosecuted.
Mugabe almost fell over backwards on Thursday as he tried to climb onto a one-step dais, with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and some aides rushing to his rescue at the India-Africa Summit in New Delhi.
A video showing Mugabe tumbling has now gone viral on social networks, including Facebook and WhatsApp where he is now the subject of butt jokes.
Meanwhile, government officials have dismissed speculation about Mugabe’s health after the elderly leader stumbled in public.
Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba was quoted in the State-run The Herald newspaper yesterday as saying that the 91-year-old leader’s struggle to climb a ramp was a “very minor incident.”
He said Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980, is in good health.
Online videos show Modi offering Mugabe a hand as he regained balance.
Opposition spokesman Obert Gutu said it was a sign that Mugabe is too old to rule.
Earlier this year, Mugabe tripped and fell at the Harare International Airport in Zimbabwe. In September he read the wrong speech in Parliament. —Additional reporting by AP