Chihuri's home shooting: Suspect in court

HARARE - A policeman who torched the house of police commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri before exchanging fire with heavily armed soldiers appeared at the Harare Magistrates Court yesterday.

Hardlife Maukazuva, 27, is facing charges of unlawful entry into Chihuri’s property in aggravating circumstances, malicious damage to property and attempted murder.

He was denied bail when he appeared before Harare magistrate Josephine Sande.

Interestingly, he was in high spirits when he made his first appearance at the courts yesterday.

Maukazuva jogged up the Harare Magistrates’ Court stairs in leg irons, flanked by 10 officers from the homicide section, and showed no emotion at all.

Allegations are that on December 6 around 6am he arrived for his guard duties at Chihuri’s residence in Greystone Park, while the police commissioner-general was away.

He assumed his shift from one constable Mabaso and Gwatiringa who had just finished night duties and also duly assumed an AK rifle with a magazine of 30 rounds, among other things.

The State further alleges that Maukazuva went on to force open a closed window to gain entry into Chihuri’s house.

He went on to steal a Samsung LED 32 inch television plasma; a black hp satchel bag; tuxan shoe polish; black high fashion ladies top; green ladies suit; Levine black ladies suits; a pair of black spectacles; two silver coat hangers; kasper light green ladies jacket, and an emirates grey slip on shoes.

The goods were worth $2 000 and they have since been recovered.

Maukazuva escaped through the window and was spotted by Chihuri’s gardener, Robson Mubaiwa, after he had hidden his loot in the yard.

Mubaiwa tried to raise alarm and appeal for help from neighbours, without success.

It is further alleged that Mubaiwa went on to confront Maukazuva who admitted to his crime.

Matters boiled over when other officers who guard Chihuri’s residence tried to disarm and arrest Maukazuva who is said to have become violent, striking constable Kudakwashe Jekemu on the back using his service AK rifle.

He then went inside Chihuri’s house and set it on fire, destroying household property, clothes and causing damage to the house worth $300 000.

While the house was smouldering, the court heard that Maukazuva started firing his AK rifle charged with a magazine of 30 rounds indiscriminately, while standing guard by the verandah of Chihuri’s house to ensure that no one comes close to put out the fire.

He is said to have opened fire on several of the guards on duty but missed and continued to fire on heavily armed soldiers who had been dispatched to the scene of incident as well as at his superiors dispatched from Morris Depot.

It was said that he tried to commit suicide using the same rifle but realised that he had ran out of ammunition. It was at this juncture that he was subdued and arrested.