'Mutasa wanted sex with me'

MUTARE - An axed senior Zanu PF official in court for allegedly stealing party beasts has sensationally claimed she is being fixed for spurning party secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa’s sexual advances.

Through her lawyer, Dorothy Mabika, who was suspended as acting Manicaland provincial chairperson because of her links to the “stolen” beasts, said Mutasa wanted a romantic relationship with her but she was not interested.

Now she faces nine years in prison if convicted on the stock theft charges because she turned down Mutasa’s amorous advances, her lawyer Tinofara Hove of TK Hove and Associates said in court yesterday.

Mutasa who is also the Presidential Affairs minister and a long-time close ally of President Robert Mugabe, is one of the most powerful people in Zanu PF.

Mabika is facing one count of stock-theft involving six dairy bull calves and another one of obstructing the course of justice. She has pleaded not guilty to both charges.

The trial is before Mutare magistrate, Sekesai Chiwundura.

Mabika stands accused of stealing six calves she received from white commercial dairy farmer, David Hercules Jourbert as a donation to her party in September 2011.

The State alleges Mabika converted the calves to her own use without forwarding them to the party and later claimed they had died of starvation due to lack of supplementary feeding and milk.

On the second count of obstruction of justice, it is alleged that in February this year when the case was under police investigation, Mabika tampered with minutes at the party’s offices to cover-up the alleged crime.

But it was the accusation by Hove that Mutasa wanted an affair with Mabika which makes the case juicier.

Cross-examining Mutasa, often referred by his “Nyati” totem, Hove challenged the Zanu PF supremo whether at one time he had not threatened Mabika that if he did not get what he wanted, he would deal with her.

The defence lawyer produced an exhibit with words alleged to have been said by Mutasa to Mabika at one of their provincial meetings at Mutare Polytechnic College.

The words read: “Mbizi neNyati zvinofura pamwe chete, kana Mbizi ikaramba kufura neNyati inotungwa neNyati. (A zebra and a buffalo graze together, if a zebra refuses to graze with the buffalo, it will be gored)”.

Hove told the court the words were inappropriate and a sexual advance to the accused, an assertion Mutasa disputed.

Hove continued: “It is clear the accused refused your sexual advances and refused to be in your corner politically and is now facing the political persecution and power struggles in your party.”

Mutasa denied ever proposing love to Mabika, insisting he said the words in jest and that it was unfortunate if she took them as a proposition.

“If she is attracted to me, let her say it. I was just playing with her, are we not allowed to joke with friends?” retorted Mutasa.

Hove told the court: “What is happening to the accused is a manifestation of political power struggles in Manicaland Province and Mabika is being used as a pawn.”

Mutasa left the gallery stunned when he shot back: “If that is the case, then she must be alert. When two bull elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers and let no one be found amidst. She stole. Before the theft, she was not in this trouble.”

Hove took the statement as an admission that his client was a victim of Zanu PF squabbles in the province, to which Mutasa insisted the investigation had been directed by Mugabe.

Mutasa said the matter came up at a party conference in Gweru after the ouster of Zanu PF Manicaland youth chairperson Tawanda Mukodza.

“This matter came up as a result of Mukodza’s expulsion as youth chair on allegations involving money meant for youths from diamond mining companies which was abused,” Mutasa said.

“It then arose that Mabika was informed of the cattle issue by the police and the presidium instructed that the matter be regarded as criminal.”

He denied he had a vendetta against Mabika, adding he was friends with her.

The Zanu PF administration secretary refuted claims by the defence lawyer that he was politically persecuting the accused on grounds that she was blocking his political ambitions.

Mutasa said he was too senior to regard Mabika as a threat to him.

“It is only the imagination of the lawyer that he thinks the accused can be a threat to my political position as I am in the top five of the party,” Mutasa shot back.

“She needs to start from the central committee of the party Zanu PF and rise to the politburo and eventually the presidium.”

But Hove argued Mutasa was acting to further personal interests without the mandate of Zanu PF, adding the matter had to be dealt with as an administrative issue.

He said the matter was being brought to court now towards elections to thwart the chances of his clients participating.

He questioned why it took more than two years to bring the charges.

Mutasa said he had been mandated by the party to represent it on the matter.

Farmer Jourbert was part of the five witnesses who testified in the case. He told the court the calves were barely a month old and were delicate to take care of, adding they could die if not fed for a day or two.

His dairy farm foreman Philemon Maposa said his job was to transport the six calves to Mabika’s Shiriyakangwara Farm, adding the calves required special care.

Themba Kweche, an animal health inspector with the Veterinary Services in Chipinge, said it was not mandatory for people to report deaths of their animals.

Abel Chipoyera, an assistant inspector with the Zimbabwe Republic Police in Chipinge, said he was shocked to see high-ranking and senior police officers from police headquarters in Harare pursuing a case of six dead calves in Chipinge.

“I was surprised to see the senior police officer travel to Chipinge for the matter,” said Chipoyera after being asked by Hove whether the involvement of Harare police was not surprising.

Christine Nyamaropa appeared for the State in the case, which continues today when more witnesses are lined up to testify. - Sydney Saize

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