HARARE – A top MDC politician has been sentenced to six months in jail for claiming that Vice President Joice Mujuru participated in the killing of her husband, Solomon, a decorated military general who died in a mysterious inferno in August last year.
Godfrey Chimombe, the MP for Shamva North Constituency and MDC Mashonaland Central provincial chairperson, has also been ordered to pay $200 fine by a magistrate after being convicted under criminal defamation laws.
He is unlikely to set foot in prison for the offence though.
Bindura magistrate Mercy Masamvi wholly suspended the jail term for five years on condition Chimombe is not convicted of a similar offence during that period.
He is represented by Ernest Jena, a member of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
Chimombe had been charged with criminal defamation pertaining to utterances he allegedly made at an MDC rally at Nyakatondo Business Centre, in Mukumbura Mt Darwin on the 15th of July.
He is alleged to have said “I would like to thank Theresa Makone (MDC Women’s Assembly) for attending the rally in the company of your husband unlike Mujuru who participated in the murder of her husband.”
“He was unfortunately found guilty of the offence,” Jena said.
He denied ever claiming Mujuru killed her husband, arguing he only introduced senior party officials and made the closing remarks.
The court dismissed his defence.
Liberation war commander and post-conflict five-star general Mujuru, also known by his nume de gurrie Rex Nhongo, died in an inferno at his Ruzambo Farm in Beatrice in August last year.
An inquest failed to come up with a conclusive explanation on the mystery surrounding his death.
President Robert Mugabe also expressed surprise on Mujuru’s failure to escape the fire while the late general’s family has intimated on a private investigation of circumstances leading to the respected war hero’s demise.
Scores of Zimbabweans have appeared in court for insulting and undermining Mugabe’s authority under a plethora of laws which critics say are meant to protect the executive from public scrutiny.