THE trial of Justice and Legal Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa on charges of attempting to defeat the course of justice is expected to begin on
July 3 in a case that is set to widen cracks in Zanu PF and is widely seen as a spillover of the party’s succession problems.
A docket (CR No 21/4/06) relating to the case has been opened.
It also emerged this week that the Attorney-General’s office has written to Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri directing him to prepare a separate docket on State Security minister Didymus Mutasa.
The two cases emanate from a political violence case that initially linked Mutasa to the assault on war veteran James Kaunye by the minister’s supporters in the run-up to the 2005 general election.
Chinamasa is accused of attempting to influence Kaunye to drop the charges. He will be tried with five others including the head of the Central Intelligence Organisation in Manicaland, Innocent Chibaya, a CIO officer identified only as Muzariri, and a Chiringa, identified as the district administrator in Mutasa district.
Sources this week said the case was a backlash against Chinamasa by Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s camp for allegedly not facilitating constitutional changes that would give her an advantage in replacing President Robert Mugabe ahead of Emmerson Mnangagwa.
They added that if Mutasa, who has previously expressed an intention to be vice-president, is prosecuted that may reduce his chances of realising his dream.
Manicaland area prosecutor, Levison Chikafu, has been assigned to lead the state’s case in Chinamasa’s prosecution, they said.
Contacted for comment on Wednesday, Chikafu could only say, “No comment,” before switching off his phone.
The Director of Public Prosecutions, Loyce Matanda-Moyo, said: “Why can’t you wait? If there is something you will see him coming to court.”
Chinamasa himself said: “I will answer that at the appropriate time. As of now I have not been told that I will be going to court.”
Contacted on whether Chihuri had complied with the AG’s directive to prepare a docket on Mutasa, deputy police commissioner Innocent Matibiri refused to comment. Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena said: “I have no comment on the issue.”
Sources said it is the state’s case that Chinamasa approached Kaunye at his Manicaland Farm and told him to drop the case that eventually saw 17 of Mutasa’s supporters, including the district chairman in his Makoni North constituency, Albert Nyakuedzwa, being jailed for three years.
Chinamasa is alleged to have said Nyakuedzwa’s trial would tarnish Zanu PF’s image as well as Mugabe’s.
Sources said in statements recorded by the police, Kaunye, who will be the state’s key witness, said Chinamasa approached him twice prior to Zanu PF’s December 2005 conference held in Esigodini and again in January this year.