MORGAN Tsvangirai has written to the Attorney-General Sobusa Gula-Ndebele demanding the prosecution of a Central Intelligence Organisation officer, Joseph Mwale, fingered as the principal offender in the death of two MDC activists in the run up to the Ju
ne 2000 election.
The two, Tichaona Chiminya and Talent Mabika, were burnt to death when five Zanu PF supporters, including Mwale, allegedly hurled petrol bombs into a car the deceased were travelling in.
The incident occurred at Murambinda growth point while Tsvangirai was campaigning in the Buhera North constituency that the MDC claims was won fraudulently by Zanu PF’s Kenneth Manyonda.
In a letter addressed to Gula-Ndebele dated April 14 on Tsvangirai’s behalf, Harare lawyer Sheila Jarvis requested that justice be done in the murder case which she said was riddled with political interference.
She also expressed concern that instead of being brought to book the CIO operative had been promoted when he was the ringleader of the alleged murderers.
“It seems imperative that very real public efforts be made urgently now to locate the missing accused from this case, Joseph Mwale, before the murder trial and to establish also whether any of his superiors has been involved in covering up his whereabouts or is in any other way still trying to obstruct the course of justice and then to also prosecute those suspected of the crime,” said Jarvis.
Last year three other accused persons, Webster Gwama, Bernard Makuwe, and Morris Cainos, alias Kitsiyatota, were indicted on two counts of murder but their trial has not yet started. At the time prosecutors said the other accused, America Mudzvinyiriri, who was driving the vehicle used in the ambush and killings, had died while Mwale was said to be on the run. Two MDC witnesses have also since died.
Jarvis said there was need for Mwale to be apprehended and tried with the others to avoid having separate trials for the same offences that may prejudice the case.
She added that if the state decided to split their prosecution, the AG “risks being seen as bringing a token prosecution calculated to confer future impunity by facilitating acquittals rather than ensure justice”.
She said although the Attorney-General’s office had directed police commissioner Augustine Chihuri to investigate the matter and submit a report to his office which was to be tabled in parliament, this had not been done.
Also, “a record of evidence (heard by Justice Devittie in an electoral petition) was not transmitted to your office as the tapes were stolen from a locked room at the courthouse”, Jarvis said.
“The judgement confirmed that the killings were particularly cold-hearted, brutal and politically motivated — in the judge’s words ‘a wicked act’.”
But despite the fact that Mwale was ostensibly a fugitive from justice no warrant of arrest was sought, she said.
“The conduct of the whole prosecution surrounding these deaths is so unusual,” Jarvis said, “that it is difficult to escape the conclusion that the same acknowledged political interference still continues and that, in violation of the constitution, instructions are still being given and being followed by your office in this matter.”