Mugabe's stolen cows: Zanu PF bosses face 9 years jail

MUTARE - Two senior Zanu PF officials face up to a decade in jail for stealing beasts meant for President Robert Mugabe’s birthday bash.

Mike Madiro, who has been suspended as Manicaland provincial chair for a separate case involving missing diamond funds, is now appearing before a Mutare magistrate on stock theft charges.

Stock theft attracts a minimum mandatory jail term of nine years.

Prosecutors are also charging the party’s provincial women’s league chairperson Dorothy Mabika, whom they say is an accomplice in the alleged looting.

Mugabe’s birthday parties are usually a lavish affair, with hundreds being treated to free food and drinks yearly.

But many of those who attended the president’s birthday anniversary at Mutare’s Sakubva Stadium last year went hungry.

The case, together with that of the diamond money which Madiro allegedly looted with several party accomplices, also gives a glimpse into the shenanigans going on in Zanu PF.

Police have completed investigations into the close to $1 million diamond money case, which could be brought before the courts soon.

But for now, Madiro and Mabika have to defend themselves against the stock theft charges.

Madiro and Mabika yesterday appeared before provincial magistrate Lucy Anne Mungwari charged with stealing 10 head of cattle meant for Mugabe’s birthday party last year.

Both are out after being granted $150 bail each and will be back in court on April 22 for trial.

Additionally, Mabika is facing two separate charges of stock theft involving six head of cattle meant for Zanu PF inter-district celebrations and another of defeating or obstructing the course of justice.

She was remanded to May 2 for trial and ordered to pay $150 bail on these charges.

Both Madiro and Mabika were not asked to plead when they appeared before Mungwari.

The State, led by Jane Rose Matsikidze, told the court that 49-year-old Madiro, Mabika, two years his junior, received 10 head of cattle from Zanu PF member John Chirimambowa as a donation to Mugabe’s birthday bash.

According to court papers, the two, with an intention to steal, converted the beasts to their own use.

It is alleged the beasts were released from farm Number 39 in Middle Sabi, Chipinge district.

The State informed the court it intends to call at least eight witnesses, among them Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa, Zanu PF national youth league boss Absolom Sikhosana, businessman and broadcaster Supa Mandiwanzira and one David Muzama.

Tinofara Hove of TK Hove and Associates is representing Madiro and Mabika.

Matsikidze advised the court that the first trial would take three days.

Madiro was ordered to remain at his Newton Farm in Odzi and not to interfere with witnesses while Mabika was told to reside at her Shiriyakangwara Farm in Mt Selinda, Chipinge.

On the separate charges, Mabika is alleged to have received at her Shiriyakangwara Farm six dairy calves on September 7, 2011 from farmer Dawid Hercules Jourbert, which had been donated to feed people at Zanu PF’s inter-district programmes.

The State alleges that Mabika, with an intention to steal, converted them to her own use.

On the second charge, Mabika is accused of obstructing the course of justice by altering minutes of Zanu PF meetings held in 2011.

It is alleged that Mabika, knowing that the police were investigating the stock theft, sought to alter minutes at the party provincial headquarters to indicate that the calves had died of starvation due to lack of supplementary milk.

The State is alleging that Mabika approached Zanu PF employees Angawashe Nelia Maenda and Lucia Golowa and ordered them to tamper with the minutes of a November  21, 2011 meeting to cover up the alleged offence.

At least 15 witnesses are expected to testify in the matter.

Mungwari warned all witnesses to attend trial as they risked being arrested for absconding, adding that some witnesses who had not attended the Monday court would be subpoenaed.

Mabika, who looked exhausted while in the dock, kept yawning as the charges were being read out. Madiro, on the contrary, looked composed as he listened to the charges.

Dozens of Zanu PF members in Mutare thronged the magistrates court to follow proceedings, forcing some to follow proceedings from outside. - Sydney Saize

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