BULAWAYO - A Zimbabwean court on Friday released on bail four people facing charges of undermining the authority of President Robert Mugabe after his powerful wife was jeered at a rally.
Three men and a woman were arrested after attending a ruling Zanu PF party rally in the country's second city, Bulawayo, where Grace Mugabe was heckled while addressing the crowd on Saturday.
"There is no compelling reason for denying the accused their rights," said magistrate Franklin Mkhwananzi, ordering them back to court on November 24.
You can't even boo Grace Mugabe in Zimbabwe now. 4 who did charged with 'undermining the authority of the President' - which she isn't yet.— John Simpson (@JohnSimpsonNews) November 10, 2017
They were freed on $50 bail each and barred from attending a coming presidential rally in Harare, whose date is yet to be announced.
According to The Herald newspaper, prosecutor Jerry Mutsindikwa had on Thursday told the court that "the quartet, with others, allegedly sang the song "Into oyenzayo siyayizonda'" -- whose lyrics in Ndebele mean "we hate what you are doing" -- while Grace addressed the rally.
The incident angered Mugabe, 93, who addressed the rally shortly after his wife, accusing his deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa of organising and sponsoring the hecklers.
He vowed to fire Mnangagwa, which he did two days later, in a dramatic move that appeared to open the way for his wife to succeed him in office.
Grace Mugabe could be appointed as one of the country's two vice-presidents at the party congress next month.
Mnangagwa, who had been touted as an obvious successor to Mugabe, fled into exile this week. His whereabouts are unknown.