Little-known 2018 presidential hopeful Gastaff Kativu has been removed from remand in a case where he faces charges of calling President Emmerson Mnangagwa a “murderer”.
Kativu is being charged with undermining the authority of the president.
Kativu, 46, allegedly entered the venue of the Zanu PF extraordinary congress in Harare in December and headed to the VIP tent while waving placards accusing Mnangagwa of killing his friend and calling for the United Nations (UN) to supervise Zimbabwe’s forth-coming general elections.
The placard also accused the Zanu PF government of failing to fulfil its election promise to provide millions of jobs.
His placard also accused Mnangagwa and Vice President Constantino Chiwenga of being part of a “diamond mafia.”
He appeared before Harare magistrate Josephine Sande, who removed him from remand after considering that the State was taking an inordinate amount of time to provide a trial date.
The State had argued that investigations are still underway. However, Sande advised the State to proceed by way of summons.
Allegations are that on December 15 last year, Zanu PF held an extraordinary congress at the Robert Mugabe Square, which endorsed Mnangagwa as its first secretary and presidential candidate in the forthcoming elections.
The State alleged at around 2pm, Kativu arrived at the venue and was observed heading towards the VIP tent displaying three placards on both hands.
It is alleged the placards were inscribed: “Another 37 years of no jobs; Election by UN or else 2008; Chiwenga, don’t beat vendors give them jobs; Mnangagwa, Chiwenga diamond mafia; Mnangagwa killed my friend and Zanu PF is giving your jobs to Chinese”.
As a result, Kativu was arrested and his placards were confiscated.
Kativu is an engineer by profession and had lived in the Middle East for close to a decade.
In his defence, Kativu has said he had the placards tucked under his armpits to avoid being detected because he was aware that he could get into trouble.
Prosecutor Michael Reza queried why Kativu would walk for more than three kilometres with the placards yet there are many bins in the city.
One of the cops who arrested him, Manyumbu Marandure, has been asked to substantiate if Kativu was not assaulted in the police’s presence.
“It was around 2pm when the accused person was brought into our base at Robert Mugabe Square with three men.
“They said he had placards that carried messages denigrating the office of the president and I investigated before advising him of his charges,” Marandure said.
“I never witnessed him being assaulted by anyone and we proceeded to Harare Central Police Station where his paperwork was done.”