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Mutasa cleared

Clemence Manyukwe

NATIONAL Security, Land Reform and Land Resettlement minister, Didymus Mutasa, has been cleared of political violence allegations after state w

itnesses declined to testify against him.

A Zanu PF faction is understood to have been making behind-the-scene manoeuvres to have Mutasa prosecuted for intra-party violence that erupted in Manicaland ahead of the March election last year.

The case stemmed from violence which broke out between one faction loyal to the minister and another aligned to Makoni North aspiring candidate, James Kaunye.

Last week, one of the defence lawyers in the on-going trial at Rusape Magistrates’ Court, Aston Musunga, confirmed that no state witness had implicated Mutasa for leading attacks that left Kaunye unconscious.

“All the 20 state witnesses did not implicate Minister Mutasa. What was mentioned in the state outline did not come up in court,” said Musunga.

The trial of 32 Zanu PF supporters accused of violence that involved Zanu PF’s Makoni North district chairman, Albert Nyakuedzwa, started in January after a botched attempt by the CIO to coerce witnesses to withdraw their testimonies.

The court issued an order barring the CIO from interfering with state witnesses, but refused an application by another defence lawyer, Amon Toto, for Mutasa to be indicted on the basis of the state outline.

Toto raised concerns of selective prosecution, saying Mutasa, as a “significant perpetrator” judging from the state outline, should be brought to court.

Musunga said apart from Mutasa, 12 accused persons were also acquitted and discharged because no one was able to link them to the violence. The acquitted include Nyakuedzwa’s wife — Erica Nyaude, Zanu PF’s Makoni North secretary for transport, Happiness Mafuratidze, and the district’s deputy secretary for legal affairs, Everisto Bhosha, who was represented by Toto. The trial is expected to end today.

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