A Zimbabwe prison officer on Thursday pleaded not guilty to charges of undermining President Emmerson Mnangagwa through posting some political comments on social media and to some misconduct charges.
John Mahlabera’s trial commenced at the Chiredzi Prison facing charges of unlawfully making some political comments on his Twitter account after an MDC Alliance party rally held at Jerera Growth Point in Zaka, Masvingo Province, which was addressed by Nelson Chamisa. The prison officer allegedly posted a message, which reads; “Come to Chiredzi my president.”
ZPCS said by posting such a message on Twitter, Mahlabera contravened section 3(1) of the Prisons (Staff) (Discipline) Regulations 1984 for using traitorous or disloyal words regarding the leader of government and had showed loyalty to Chamisa and disloyalty to Mnangagwa.
But the ZPCS officer, who is represented by Collen Maboke of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, denied uttering any treacherous or disloyal words against Mnangagwa or government and indicated that the Twitter account, which ZPCS authorities alleged belongs to him is in the name of Shephard Mahlabera.
Mahlabera’s trial will continue today, where his witnesses are expected to testify before the trial officer only identified as superintendent Muzhingi. ZPCS principal correctional officer Nyikadzino Machingura is prosecuting on behalf of ZPCS.