Zimbabwean police have arrested Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa's ally, controversial businessman Energy Mutodi, for allegedly suggesting that a coup was likely in Zimbabwe if President Robert Mugabe failed to "carefully choose his successor".
"It is true; he has been charged with undermining the authority of the president in contravention of Section 33 of the Criminal Codification and Reforms Act and causing disaffection among the police force or defense force in contravention of the Criminal Code," said Mtetwa.
Speaking over the phone from the Harare Central Police Station where Mutodi was being held, Mtetwa said her client was initially charged with treason.
"The charge was initially treason based on an adulteration of the posting by Zimeye (an online publication) whose article gives the impression that Mutodi gave an interview to then when they simply gave the Facebook post their own interpretation and their own headline. I am not sure if they will detain him overnight," said the defence attorney.
'I am the boss'
Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba could not be reached for a comment as her mobile phone went unanswered.
Amid growing calls for Mugabe to name his successor, Mutodi said that the nonagenarian had to be careful in choosing his successor and consult widely.
Mutodi allegedly wrote on his Facebook page, that the veteran leader should avoid raising "any suspicion of unfairness or discrimination" as it may "backfire" and even tarnish his name.
Said Mutodi: "Decision making in succession issues has always been a problem among Africans; resulting in civil wars, repetitive coups and economic turmoil."
The controversial business, who recently appeared in pictures with Mnangagwa holding a coffee mug inscribed “I am the boss”, said Mugabe needed to consult with the country's security establishment that played a key role in keeping him in power.