HARARE – A prison officer has been dismissed from his job over a tweet in which he referred to MDC leader Nelson Chamisa his President, his lawyers said.
John Mahlabera was discharged on Monday after an internal disciplinary hearing.
“Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services has dismissed from employment, John Mahlabera, a prison officer, after convicting him on two counts of undermining President Emmerson Mnangagwa and posting a tweet viewed by his superiors as disloyal to Mnangagwa,” the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said in a brief update.
Mahlabera was tried at the Chiredzi Prison accused of unlawfully making 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 Chamisa.
The prison officer allegedly posted a message, which said: “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.
Mahlabera, who was 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 belonged to him, is in the name of Shephard Mahlabera.
Superintendent Tapiwa Norman Muzhingi was the trial officer while ZPCS principal correctional officer Nyikadzino Machingura prosecuted on behalf of ZPCS.