Mugabe's beasts saga takes new twist

MUTARE - The case in which two top Zanu PF provincial officials are in court for allegedly stealing 10 beasts meant for President Robert Mugabe’s birthday party has taken a new twist.

Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa at the weekend made sensational claims that Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa is clamouring for the party to drop the charges against former Manicaland provincial party chairperson Mike Madiro.

Chinamasa, women’s league boss Oppah Muchinguri and Madiro are in a camp involved in nasty factional fighting with Mutasa, whom they accuse of destroying Zanu PF in the province.

Addressing journalists at the Mutare Press Club at the weekend, Mutasa admitted to the existence of factions in Zanu PF, before launching an attack on Chinamasa and Madiro.

“Yes there are factions. Some people are calling for forgiveness saying this case (stealing Mugabe beasts) should be dropped because it will destroy the party.I thought it will actually cleanse the party? Why do we want to hide this issue?” queried Mutasa.

“There is even a minister in the party, a minister of Justice who is petitioning the party to drop the charges... we do not govern the party like that... Madiro can no longer be protected,” Mutasa said.

It was not possible to get a comment from Chinamasa yesterday as his phone was continuously unavailable.

Madiro is jointly accused with Dorothy Mabika, the acting provincial chairperson.

The beasts were supposed to be slaughtered for Mugabe’s 88th birthday bash held in Mutare’s Sakubva Stadium last year.

Asked if Zanu PF was not selectively punishing Madiro by retaining Mabika as acting chair even though she is a co-accused, Mutasa said: “What difference does it make? He (Madiro) is all over the province. Yesterday he was in Makoni campaigning for Chinamasa.”

Mutasa said he had nothing against Madiro.

“Madiro has been my best friend. He has always been by my side. I truthfully also told the courts so. There is nowhere in the province I would go without Madiro. Suddenly, after the case of stolen beasts people say I am persecuting him? Stealing is a crime, full stop! He is being prosecuted for stealing,” said Mutasa.

The livestock case, together with that of Madiro being accused of looting close to $1 million donated by diamond companies to Zanu PF, has opened a can of worms and  expose shenanigans within the party.

Police are believed to have concluded investigations in the diamond cash looting case, which might come before the courts soon, sources said.

Madiro, suspended from his position as provincial party chair following the diamond cash report, is pleading political persecution -— a defence saliently pointing to factionalism playing out in court.

Madiro was a key player in the 2004 Tsholotsho debacle described by Mugabe as a coup plot by a group aligned to Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and, at that time, political flip-flopper Jonathan Moyo.

Moyo is reportedly no longer in Mnangagwa’s camp, although Madiro is believed to be still a protégé. - Bernard Chiketo

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