By Daniel Nemukuyu
Self-styled prophet Gathrie Chiredzero, better known as Madzibaba Gathrie, jailed for 16 years two years ago for masquerading as a Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operative and stalking President Mnangagwa while armed with a gun, is now a free man.
In a partially successful appeal, the High Court acquitted him of two of the charges and slashed the sentences on the other three, cutting the total jail term to 11 months.
As he had been behind bars longer when his appeal was heard, he walked away a free man.
Chiredzero (42), who reportedly went near the podium with a loaded gun while the President was speaking during the renaming of King George VI Barracks to Josiah Magama Tongogara Barracks in December 2017, was in 2018 found guilty of possessing offensive weapons at public gatherings, forgery, impersonating a public official, possession of articles for criminal use and driving without a valid licence by Harare magistrate Ms Esteri Chivasa.
However, in appeal proceedings two months ago, the High Court cleared Chiredzero of illegal possession of firearms at a public gathering and forgery.
The court then slashed the five years for impersonation to five months, the one year for driving without a licence to one month or a $3 000 fine, and the five years for possessing articles for criminal use to five months.
Allegations against Chiredzero were that on December 4 2017, he was spotted at the swearing-in ceremony of Cabinet ministers at State House standing near the podium, controlling the movement of people while masquerading as a security agent, having gained entry with a fake CIO identity card. The Herald.