Energy Minister Elton Mangoma failed to appear before a Bindura magistrate, Friday, to face charges of insulting President Robert Mugabe because the presiding officer was involved in a car accident.
A statement issued by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said the charges against Mangoma are "flimsy".
Addressing MDC supporters in Mt. Darwin last year, the minister allegedly shouted, "‘Chibva Mugabe chibva. Chifa Mugabe chifa’ (Go Mugabe go. Die Mugabe die)".
Mangoma is quoted in the state-controlled Herald newspaper denying the charges but admitted he did urge the president to leave office without insulting his name and person.
The MDC says the charges are “nothing but an attempt by Zanu PF of using the state agents and the public media to frustrate and disrupt the operations of senior MDC officials in government.”
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights is said to have represented at least 50 individuals in the courts this past year arrested for allegedly calling Mr. Mugabe names.