Harare businessman Rodney Dangarembizi appeared in court yesterday accused of penning a speech read out during a press conference last year, denigrating now Vice President Constantino Chiwenga.
Dangarembizi was represented by Alec Muchadehama when he appeared before Harare magistrate Josephine Sande.
He is being charged with publishing false statements prejudicial to the State and causing disaffection among the defence forces.
He was released on $400 bail, ordered to continue residing at his present address, not interfere with witnesses, surrender his passport and report once a week at Borrowdale Police Station.
Dangarembizi will be back in court on March 19. He is the director of Rodox (Private) Limited.
Prosecutor Idah Maromo alleged that on November 13 last year Dangarembizi connived with Kudzanai Chipanga, then Zanu PF youth secretary, and Munyaradzi Hamandishe — who have already appeared in court on the same allegations — to organise a press conference in response to a statement issued by Chiwenga, who was commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) at the time.
Pursuant to their plan, the trio authored a speech and ordered all Zanu PF national youth executives and journalists to attend the presser.
The court heard that Dangarembizi published the statement which was later read out at Zanu PF headquarters.
The statement read: “As commander of the Defence Forces (comrade) Chiwenga, we await a full report on the whereabouts of the missing $15 billion as the army never accounted for the revenue after extraction. This money would go a long way in alleviating the obtaining hardships the soldiers are facing and improve their welfare and morale…Chiwenga cannot have his cake and eat it too. He also cannot benefit from his mischief and misdeeds in that together with former minister of Defence now fugitive Dambudzo Mnangagwa they dismally failed in the stewardship of revenue streams that flowed from diamond concessions allocated to the defence forces from economic hardships. A day will come when those responsible will have to account to the people…this liberation and fundamental rights which came at such steep price cannot be personal property of one rogue element in the security sector with power to give it and take it at will…”
According to State papers, the utterances made against Chiwenga were reckless and had the effect of undermining public confidence in the ZDF.
Investigations led to Dangarembizi’s arrest and a copy of the press statement which he had signed was recovered from the Zanu PF youth league head office.
The recovered copy will be produced in court as an exhibit.