|President Robert Mugabe|
The pastor who predicted that Zimbabwe's 92-year-old President Robert Mugabe will die this year has been charged in court following his arrest.
Prosecutors charged Pastor Patrick Mugadza with undermining the authority of the president, "criminal nuisance" and "insulting people of a certain race or religion," the BBC reported.
The action was taken after Mugadza predicted that the world's oldest and one of the world's longest serving heads of state will die on Oct. 17, 2017. The Remnant Church pastor made the announcement during a press conference last week.
Mugadza's lawyer, Gift Mtisi, said the pastor laughed off the charges and would plead not guilty.
"I'm still at pains to find the criminal part of it," Mtisi told the BBC, adding that Mugadza was only relaying a "message from God."
The lawyer said his client had no regrets about making the prophecy. "He's admitting to the facts. He says he didn't lie—that's a message from God. Police will have to prove God didn't say it," Mtisi said.
Mugadza was charged at the magistrate's court in the Zimbabwe capital of Harare where he is also facing separate charges of wearing the national flag, which is considered an offence in the southern African nation.
Mugadza has long been a thorn in the side of Mugabe. In 2005, he was arrested and imprisoned for nearly a month after holding a placard denouncing Mugabe for bringing more misery to the people of his country.
Last year to mark Zimbabwe's independence day, he had himself tied to a lamppost in Harare's main shopping mall while delivering a sermon, telling people that the act symbolised the lack of freedom in their country.
Last September, Mugabe was rumoured to have died after he unexpectedly cut short his participation in the African Union summit and flew to Dubai to see his doctor.
Mugabe later joked about the rumours, saying he indeed died but was only resurrected, adding that he has resurrected more often than Jesus Christ.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's ruling party has confirmed that Mugabe will be its candidate for the 2018 presidential election, according to Quartz. Mugabe's re-election is considered nearly beyond doubt, which means that he could stay in power until the age of 99. Zimbabwe has known no other leader since it achieved independence in 1980.
Mugabe has been praised as a revolutionary hero of the African liberation struggle who helped to free Zimbabwe from British rule. However, critics accuse him of being a dictator responsible for the economic mismanagement and widespread corruption in his country.
(c) Christian world news