FORMER Finance minister Chris Kuruneri has launched a full frontal attack on Zanu PF political commissar Elliot Manyika and Harare magistrate Mishrod G
uvamombe, accusing them of involvement in a political conspiracy against him.
In a statement submitted to his lawyer Jonathan Samkange, Kuruneri, who is on trial for allegedly contravening the Exchange Control Act, said he quarrelled with Manyika and “clashed almost violently” with provincial magistrate Guvamombe over a farm in Mazowe.
Kuruneri said Manyika backed Guvamombe in the dispute. He said this was the source of his current problems.
Samkange confirmed yesterday that Kuruneri authored the statement in which he described his trial as a “political prosecution”.
Kuruneri said despite the fact that the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act requires that a magistrate or judge should have reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed, Guvamombe signed a warrant for his arrest in 2004 without any incriminating evidence.
“But even more important was what brought magistrate Guvamombe into the conspiracy. The answer is that Mr Guvamombe clashed with the accused (myself) almost violently over Harmony Farm in Mazowe West,” he said.
Kuruneri said Guvamombe claimed that he had been allocated the farm in Kuruneri’s former Mazowe West constituency by Manyika. However, Kuruneri and the Mashonaland Central provincial administrator wanted the property allocated to displaced farm workers.
“Minister Manyika clashed with the accused (myself) over the allocation of Harmony Farm to Mr Guvamombe with the Member of Parliament (Kuruneri was MP for the area at that time and also Finance minister) insisting that priority should be given to his electorate from Mazowe West… The matter before this court is a political prosecution pitching a local MP trying to protect his electorate’s rights,” Kuruneri said.
Manyika said yesterday: “I will only comment if his (Kuruneri’s) lawyers approach me.”
Guvamombe said he had no problems with Kuruneri because he did not want the farm in the first place.
“It is not true. I was allocated an adjacent farm, but as you would appreciate, there were a lot of emotions regarding the land issue,” he said.
“I can’t remember signing the warrant (for Kuruneri’s arrest) because at the time there were three provincial magistrates.”
Kuruneri has also accused prosecutor, Joseph Jagada, and the investigating officer, Assistant Commissioner Samson Mangoma, of suppressing evidence exonerating him. He has made a report to the police over the alleged misconduct of the two and the issue is in court.
On Tuesday Justice Susan Mavangira ordered a trial within a trial to deal with the allegations against Jagada after the defence applied to have him removed from the case.
The trial within the trial continued yesterday. Jagada and the Attorney-General Sobusa Gula-Ndebele, cited as respondents by Kuruneri, were represented by prosecutor, Lawrence Phiri.
In his defence, filed on Wednesday, Jagada dismissed the claims saying Mangoma never alleged that he had removed the affidavit.
“It appears the applicant has actually managed to create an impression already that indeed there was a statement which was removed from the docket whereas there is no evidence to this effect neither was it said by any one of the state witnesses,” Jagada said.