Judge recuses self from Kereke appeal hearing

HARARE - A new judge will hear the appeal of jailed ex-Zanu PF Bikita West legislator Munyaradzi Kereke, convicted of raping his 11-year-old niece at gunpoint after the original judge recused himself from the case yesterday.

High Court judge Tawanda Chitapi said in court that he would not hear the bail pending appeal by Kereke — currently serving an effective 10-year jail term.

Justice Chitapi said he was once the politician’s legal counsel in the same matter and was therefore disqualified to preside over the appeal.

“I am not able to deal with this matter, I have to recuse myself. Apparently, I was involved in this matter as the applicant’s counsel. My firm was the one that represented him up until the State declined prosecution,” Justice Chitapi said.

He said he was once a co-director with Kereke in two companies and interacted with him when he was still working at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. Chitapi was once the central bank’s lawyer, during a time when Kereke was the advisor to then RBZ governor Gideon Gono.

“Under the circumstances, it will not be proper that I deal with this matter,” Chitapi said.

The case has now been assigned to High Court judge Owen Tagu. The new judge will hear the appeal next Tuesday.

Kereke has approached the High Court again seeking to be released on bail, arguing there are changed circumstances. His earlier bid was thrown out by Justice Happious Zhou in October.

Denying Kereke bail in October, Zhou noted that there was a high likelihood that the politician would skip a retrial if freed following his prison stint.

The court further ruled that Kereke was not a person of fixed abode as he has several places of residence and may frustrate the administration of justice.

In the current application, Kereke’s estranged wife Elizabeth Sibanda has offered to accommodate him and fund a house arrest pending the hearing of the maverick businessman’s appeal.

She has also undertaken to surrender title deeds to her Mandara property as surety for Kereke’s freedom.

Another couple, Arnold Chidhakwa and his wife Barbara have also offered another property as surety, in a development his lawyers argued provided changed circumstances and warranted their client’s release on bail.

Kereke fell from grace in July when Harare regional magistrate Noel Mupeiwa slapped him with a 14-year jail term after convicting him on rape charges, following private prosecution proceedings instituted by the raped girl’s guardian Francis Maramwidze, through gritty Harare lawyer Charles Warara.

Four years were suspended on condition that Kereke does not commit an offence of sexual nature in the next five years.

This followed a six-year legal battle in which now suspended prosecutor-general Johannes Tomana declined to prosecute the businessman on the basis that he had no case to answer.

Comments (2)

rot in jail rbz thief rapist.

MERCY - 2 December 2016

There is no change circumstances unless they will smuggle another withdrawal affidavit into judge's office. Two Prominent people raping their niece at gun point seeks to walk away scott free. justice system must redeem itself and send a clear massage. kereke failed to defend and provide relavant facts pertaining to rape charges and kept dwelling on political wild fairy tells. The spot light is on.

X-MAN IV - 3 December 2016

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