Mutasa faces intimidation, violence charges

Clemence Manyukwe



NATIONAL Security, Land Reform and Resettlement minister Didymus Mutasa faces charges of violence and intimidation of magistrates while Justice ministe

r Patrick Chinamasa is expected back in court next week for resumption of his trial that collapsed on Tuesday after magistrates refused to preside.


Charges of attempting to defeat the course of justice levelled against Chinamasa were dropped on Tuesday when magistrates in Manicaland refused to preside over the case citing threats by Mutasa who allegedly accused them of harbouring MDC sympathies.


Rusape magistrate Loice Mukunyadzi on Tuesday described Mutasa’s conduct as “unruly behaviour”. The magistrates recused themselves from Chinamasa’s trial because he was their “boss”, they said.


Manicaland area prosecutor Levison Chikafu is however determined to see Mutasa’s wings clipped.


It emerged yesterday that a retired magistrate, Phenias Chipopoteke, would now preside over the case that has been sat down for next week.


The two ministers’ troubles stem from a political violence case that resulted in 16 of Mutasa’s supporters, including Zanu PF’s chairman in his Makoni North constituency, Albert Nyakuedzwa, being jailed for three years each for attacking James Kaunye, who sought to challenge the minister in the ruling party’s primary election.


Chinamasa and five others, including head of the CIO in Manicaland, Innocent Chibaya, head of intelligence in Makoni North, Denford Masiya and Simbarashe Muzariri, a CIO operative based in Rusape, are accused of trying to coerce state witnesses to withdraw testimonies against Nyakuedzwa and others.


Leading the state’s case against the intelligence officers on Tuesday, Chikafu said Mutasa had subverted the laws of the country and promised that justice would be done. He said there were no sacred cows.


He said other high ranking government officials would soon be arraigned for various offences and Mutasa was no exception.


“Didymus Mutasa tampered with the justice system. What he did was unlawful. The fact that he has not been brought for trial does not mean that he is not coming,” said the prosecutor.


A fearless prosecutor in the pursuit of justice who has led several cases considered as hot potatoes such as the Mutare arms cache, Chikafu stunned a courtroom filled with ruling party sympathisers when he remarked: “Mutasa is a powerful person; his wings must be clipped to the greatest extent.”


He said because of prosecution of lawbreakers, Zanu PF factions and members of the MDC were now living in harmony in Mutasa’s constituency, a development he said should be maintained.


“Even the Zimbabwe Independent and the Fingaz that had been banned in some places (in Rusape) are now in circulation,” Chikafu added.


During Chibaya’s trial, Kaunye, Zimbabwe National War Veterans Association’s national secretary for information, alleged the CIO had intended to kill him to save Mutasa’s supporters from prosecution.


Chibaya and the others are denying the charges.