NATIONAL Security and Land Reform minister Didymus Mutasa assaulted a policeman and confiscated a rifle from another, a Rusape magistrates’ court trying the case of Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa heard this week.
The state alleg
es that Chinamasa attempted to coerce war veterans secretary for information James Kaunye to drop charges of public violence against Mutasa’s supporters. The supporters, including Makoni North chairman, Albert Nyakuedzwa, have since been tried, convicted and jailed for three years each for attacking Kaunye to stop him from running against Mutasa in Zanu PF primary elections.
The case had its light moments when state prosecutor Levison Chikafu refused to prosecute until President Mugabe’s portrait was put up in the courtroom. The case continued 10 minutes later after the portrait was hung in place.
During cross examination, defence lawyer James Mutizwa asked Kaunye why he had reported the case to the Attorney-General’s office and not the police. Kaunye replied: “I could not report the matter to the police because at the material time the situation was tense. Police officers were abducted and the officer in charge of Rusape Urban, Inspector Tomukai, had been assaulted by Mutasa. Another constable had his firearm confiscated.”
Instead of action being taken against Mutasa, Tomukai was transferred, he said.
While giving evidence, Kaunye said shortly after his August 2004 assault, Chinamasa approached him and promised him a senatorial seat if he did not challenge Mutasa.
He said when the minister approached him again in December 2005 urging him to drop charges against Nyakuedzwa in return for an offer letter to Precincts Farm, he told the minister that he was a bad broker as he had not delivered the senatorial seat.
“On the issue of the senate, the accused (Chinamasa) replied that he could no longer do anything as his hands were tied by the Tsholotsho issue,” Kaunye said.
Kaunye, who testified he could not reveal much about Tsholotsho for fear of his life, said he told Chinamasa to punish Nyakuedzwa, whom he said was wooed into Zanu PF from the MDC by the late Moven Mahachi.
However, Mutizwa put it to Kaunye that he hated Mutasa and his associates hence the trumped up charges against him.
“When accused (Chinamasa) was preparing his defence, he was saying I have been caught in crossfire. This is a Mutasa thing,” said Mutizwa.
Kaunye denied the accusation, saying he had campaigned for Mutasa in 2005 elections following a meeting he held with Solomon Mujuru.
He said he even suffered for Mutasa as former Zanu PF Manicaland chairman, Mike Madiro — who was suspended from the party for allegedly plotting against Mujuru — considered him a “Mutasa’s man” and fired him from his job at the party’s provincial offices.
Kaunye said at one time Chinamasa invited him to a meeting in Mutare where the minister wanted to strategise on becoming Zanu PF’s national chairman ahead of John Nkomo.
Mutizwa said as a lawyer, former Attorney-General and now Justice minister, Chinamasa was well versed in the law and would not offer inducements to have charges of attempted murder dropped.
Mutizwa said Chinamasa had not committed an offence but it was Kaunye who told the minister that he was “going to be take-take with Mutasa”, Mutizwa said.
Take-take is a military term meaning hand to hand combat involving the use of combatants.”