HARARE – Zanu PF politburo member Kudzanai Chipanga has been savaged for wantonly stalling court processes by allegedly ducking investigators and paying more regard to his “political business”.
Chipanga is a star witness in a case in which Godfrey Tsenengamu, 33, Godwin Gomwe, 37, and Vengai Musengi, 36, are being charged with inciting public violence and provoking President Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace.
The matter failed to take off yesterday after the State pleaded with the magistrate to have the matter deferred to June 29, arguing it would give them time to retrieve the trio’s WhatsApp messages and a statement from Chipanga.
The State alleges the accused sent WhatsApp messages mobilising youths and war veterans inciting them to join them in what they termed the “Save Zanu PF Campaign”, a group to verbally attack Mugabe and other top government officials.
It is further alleged in pursuit of their agenda, the trio attended the war veterans intended City Sports Centre meeting of February 18, where they reportedly shouted, “Let’s start a war”.
They reportedly tore and burnt T-shirts inscribed vana vose kuna amai (everyone should follow the First Lady).
According to court papers, the trio’s intention was to incite war veterans into committing acts of public violence.
Yesterday, magistrate Tendai Mahwe agreed to give the State counsel “another chance” to put their house in order.
But that was before defence council Zivai Macharaga riled Chipanga for failing to avail himself to give a statement for the last three months.
“This case was remanded to June 7 to allow court to hear statement of one . . . Chipanga and on that date the State told the court that the witness had not been located and needed more time to locate him,” he said.
“The matter was deferred and the State was given a month but again still the court was told Kudzanai’s statement was still outstanding and actually blamed Kudzanai for misleading investigators that he was coming from Mutare to Harare to have his statement recorded.
“The State also indicates that they were now sourcing for resources to travel to Mutare to get his statement having made peace with the fact that he was not willing to come to Harare.
Macharaga made reference to that on May 5, the defence expressed concern over continued failure by the State to obtain a statement from a witness resident in Zimbabwe.
“The matter was deferred to today and the explanation given is that Kudzanai’s statement is yet to be recorded . . . I am told on May 23 he was a stone’s throw from this building conducting his political business yet he can’t travel to Harare Central Police Station to give his statement.”
The defence counsel asked the court to remove the accused from remand until Chipanga was a willing witness.
Magistrate Mahwe deferred the matter to June 29 were upon the State should have retrieved the said text messages from service provider.
He, however, hastened to say the State should not take three months to acquire a statement from one individual and should speedily acquire it before June 29.