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Chamisa 'prison officer' fired

by Staff reporter
07 Nov 2018 at 06:25hrs | Views
ZIMBABWE Prisons and Correctional Service (ZPCS) has finally fired the prison officer accused of undermining President Emmerson Mnangagwa by addressing MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa as "my president" in a tweet.

The officer, John Mahlabera, was dismissed from the service following disciplinary proceedings.

Mahlabera was convicted of the offence on Monday and dismissed from employment by the trial officer only identified as Superintendent Muzhingi.

Mahlabera, who was represented by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights during the hearing that commenced on November 1 at Chiredzi Prison, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

ZPCS accused Mahlabera of unlawfully making political comments on his Twitter account when he posted a message that read, "Come to Chiredzi my president" after an MDC Alliance rally addressed by Chamisa at Jerera Growth Point in Zaka, Masvingo.

ZPCS said by posting such a message on the micro-blogging site, Mahlabera contravened section 3(1) of the Prisons (Staff) (Discipline) Regulations 1984, which prohibits the use of traitorous or disloyal words regarding the leader of government. The prisons officer had, according to the Law, also shown loyalty to Chamisa and disloyalty to Mnangagwa.

But Mahlabera, who was represented by Collen Maboke of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, denied uttering any treacherous or disloyal words against Mnangagwa or the government and indicated that the Twitter account, which ZPCS alleged belongs to him, was registered in the name of one Shephard Mahlabera.

Mahlabera was also convicted of misconduct, where ZPCS authorities claimed that he attended an opposition political party rally ahead of the country's harmonised elections held in July 2018, in contravention of section 3 (46) of Prisons (Staff) (Disciplinary) Regulations 1984, that is being guilty of any other act, conduct, disorder or neglect of duty to the prejudice of good conduct or discipline as read with section (19) (a-g) of Staff General Regulations 1968.

ZPCS added that the 36-year-old prison officer unlawfully and intentionally participated in active politics when he attended an MDC Alliance rally held at Tshovani Stadium in Chiredzi on June 10, 2018, where he was invited to the podium by Chamisa, who then introduced him to opposition political party supporters.

During the rally, Mahlabera was promised employment by Chamisa, who indicated that if he was fired from ZPCS for his actions, the youthful opposition leader would offer him a job in his security team.

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Source - newsday