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Police to arrest more coup suspects

Lucia Makamure

THE saga of six men accused of plotting a coup to oust President Robert Mugabe took a new twist this week with revelations that police could arrest more s

uspects in the next two weeks.

The Zimbabwe Independent is also reliably informed that investigators want the accused men already in police custody to implicate two senior Airforce of Zimbabwe commanders in the coup plot.

Sources at the Attorney-General’s Office this week said the state was following leads into the involvement of the two airforce officers. When the alleged conspirators were arrested five months ago, the state alleged that the accused wanted to stage a coup and install Rural Housing minister Emmerson Mnangagwa as prime minister.

The latest twist came as Justice Tendayi Uchena this week gave the state two weeks to conclude investigations in the case. The judge said he would consider a bail application by the six — Albert Mutapo, Nyasha Zivuku, Oncemore Mudzurahona, Emmanuel Marara, Patson Mupfure and Shingirai Mutemachani — after police completed their probe.

Superintendent Simon Mundondwa, the police officer commanding Law and Order Section in Harare, told the court to expect some action on the case in the next two weeks.

“There are now strong leads and some of the outstanding accused will be arrested soon,” said Mundondwa in an affidavit submitted to the court by the prosecution.

The sources said police had started interrogating the accused with a view to linking the senior airmen to the alleged coup

The defence counsel for the six, Charles Warara, told the Zimbabwe Independent in an interview this week that the case had been heavily politisied with no incriminating evidence against his clients having been produced, five months after their arrest.

“My clients have been in custody for more than five months and the state is still to come up with any evidence to show that they were planning a coup in the physical sense,” said Warara of Warara & Associates.

Warara said no guns or elements of the execution of the said coup had been brought before the courts to justify the lengthy detention of the accused.

“Our worry is that the police are taking time to finalise their investigations,” he added.

Warara said the police were yet to furnish them with information on what came of the investigations on Mnangagwa who was also implicated in the coup.

“Obviously, if they still want their case to stand there have to be some insiders in the government who were involved because these guys on their own without access to the state machinery could not have dreamt of carrying out a coup,” he added.

“The reason why the police are delaying the case on the excuse that they are still carrying out investigations is because they know that without extending the plot to the government machinery they cannot justify the arrest of the six accused,” he said

The High Court in June dismissed a bail application by the alleged coup plotters on the grounds that there was a danger that they might abscond and that investigations were still in their infancy.

The alleged coup plotters will today be spending their 126th night behind bars.

The delay in the prosecution is almost similar to that of 23 Movement for Democratic Change activists accused of terrorist bombings who are yet to get a trial date, eight months after they were arrested.

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