By Tendai Kamhungira
Activist clergyman Patrick Phillip Mugadza has challenged the government to build special “conjugal rights cottages” in jails to allow prisoners to enjoy intimacy with their partners.
The unorthodox Remnant Church pastor, who earlier this year made a controversial “prophecy” which claimed that President Robert Mugabe would die later this year, has just spent six weeks in remand prison following his arrest on January 19, when he was charged and then denied bail for the “prophecy”.
Although he was finally granted bail by the High Court last Friday, he only gained his freedom on Monday this week, after a clerk of court at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts initially refused to accept his bail money, because authorities allegedly wanted to authenticate the High Court order.
“I have seen condoms in prison and I have seen them with inmates. What does that tell you? It means some gay activity is most likely going on in there, although I am told that one can actually have intimacy with a woman in jail,” Mugadza told the Daily News in an interview yesterday.
“I was told how this can be done and I asked whether my wife could also visit me in prison and they said no.
“I then began to realise that there is a need for the government to seriously think about this, as even president Mugabe says gays and lesbians are worse than dogs, which is not a very good statement from a leader because from my point of view as a clergyman, everybody was created in the image of God irrespective of what they do.
“They could be doing a wrong thing but that does not make them dogs at any given point. The best way is to speak to them so that they know what they are doing is wrong. So, if the president is seriously against gay relationships, what does he have to do?
“He has got to create a situation where he is going to be having what I call ‘conjugal cottages’ in prison. This way, women can visit their husbands there,” Mugadza added.
Mugadza was arrested after he “prophesied” that Mugabe would die on October 17 this year.
He remained in custody after he was denied bail by Harare magistrate Vongai Guwuriro on January 19, on the basis that he allegedly had the propensity to commit similar offences if given bail.
Mugadza was charged with insulting Christian and African traditional religions, with the State claiming that predicting someone’s death is taboo.
His trial has now been set down for March 30.
He first hit the headlines in December 2015 when he mounted a one-man protest against Mugabe in Victoria Falls, during Zanu PF’s national conference at the resort, where he held a placard that read: “Mr President, the people are suffering. Proverbs 21:13”.
In April last year, he also chained himself to a pole while holding a cross in one hand and a Bible in the other, in a daring protest action in Harare.
His death prophecy has caused palpable anger within sections of Zanu PF — which is riven with its seemingly unstoppable tribal, factional and succession wars.
The outspoken Mugadza faces six months’ imprisonment, or a fine of $200 if he is convicted under Section 33 of the Criminal Law.
In making his controversial “prophecy”, Mugadza had also said that the nonagenarian could escape death by praying fervently, fasting and publicly announcing that he did not wish to die.
“I am not saying I am going to be killing him on October 17, so there is no way anybody can say to me what you have done is wrong. I am not going to be killing anybody, I am only saying what God told me, that he is going to die,” he said then. — Read Mugadza’s riveting full interview in the Daily News On Sunday this weekend. Daily News