FORMER Finance minister Tendai Biti has lined up several witnesses who claim to have suffered at the hands of ex-Zanu PF heavyweight Didymus Mutasa in a case where he is being sued by the politician for $8 million.
By Everson Mushava
Mutasa dragged Biti to the High Court claiming the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader accused him of killing an MDC-T activist’s son.
Christpowers Maisiri (12) from Mutasa’s Headlands constituency was burnt to death in 2013 after the hut he was sleeping in was set on fire by suspected Zanu PF activists.
Biti allegedly accused the former Intelligence minister of causing the boy’s death during a Cabinet meeting.
Mutasa, now a member of former vice-president Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) party, accused Biti of defamation.
Biti’s defence outline contains testimonies of several MDC-T supporters who say they would prove that the former Zanu PF Manicaland godfather was behind several cases of politically-motivated violence in the province.
Biti said he never said Mutasa killed Christpowers, but that he caused the death of the child and evidence provided by witnesses would show that he had a track record of violence.
The PDP leader said if Mutasa could sue him over things that happened in Cabinet, then he should not hide behind the Official Secrets Act in refusing to name human rights campaigner Jestina Mukoko’s kidnappers.
Mukoko was abducted by suspected Central Intelligence Organisation operatives when Mutasa was State Security minister.
According to Biti’s defence outline, Priscilla Kamuchira – a witness from ward 7 in Headlands – would testify that Mutasa provided Zanu PF youths with a wooden club and catapults at a rally at Nyamukamani School in 2008.
The weapons were allegedly used to assault MDC-T members at a base established at the school ahead of the June presidential run-off election.
Kamuchira’s husband died on June 26 after being assaulted at the base, together with Method Chabuka, who eventually died on July 8 2008 at a Harare hospital.
“When he [Mutasa] came, he had a huge wooden club which he left with Zanu PF activists at Nyamukamani,” Kamuchira said in the court papers.
“A Zanu PF base was then set up at Nyamukamani, where Zanu PF activists, who were over 1 000 were fed and organised by Mutasa himself.”
Kamuchira’s sister-in-law, only identified as Lizzy, was also badly assaulted and was now permanently paralysed after spending two years bed-ridden, according to the court documents.
Another victim claimed that she was beaten a day before the elections, while she lay prostrate with her clothes striped off.
Some Zanu PF youths whisked her off on the pretext of helping her, but instead lined up and to rape her until she lost consciousness.
“The witness will state that she was raped by one Brian Mudyambudzi and thereinafter the Zanu PF people literally queued up to rape her countless times,” read part of the papers.
“She became unconscious and has no recollection of how many people actually raped her. She was subsequently treated at the CSU [Counselling Services Unit].”
While she was being raped, her husband was being assaulted by Zanu PF youths and he died after his testicles exploded.
The Zanu PF youth stopped everyone from mourning victims of their killings, it is alleged.
“The witness will also state that during this period, Mutasa’s vehicles would be roaming around Headlands and he himself was always very visible and very vocal, forcing MDC-T supporters to take refuge in mountains where they would access food from their relatives,” the papers say.
“The witness will also state that at the base, at least 43 beasts were slaughtered by the Zanu PF people, as well as countless goats and chickens, which were confiscated from villagers.
“She herself lost two goats, one cow and six chickens. No one was ever compensated.”
Judith Svotwani Punungwe of village 4C, Chinyika West in Headlands, would also testify that she was assaulted on June 23 2008 at Nyamukamani main base, Biti said.
She claimed she was undressed and thumped by logs while others poured water on her, leaving her with serious scars that had to be remedied by intensive skin grafting.
With nurses afraid of treating victims, Punungwe was rushed to Harare where she spent five months under the care of the CSU.
Many witnesses claimed Mutasa would visit the constituency driving either a Jeep Cherokee or Mitsubishi truck to terrorise people – not only those in the opposition, but even some within Zanu PF but were opposed to him, as was the case with Major Kaunye in 2008.
Mutasa allegedly personally removed the dreadlocks of Kaunye’s campaign manager identified as Mhuruyengwe using a knife at Chinyudze in Headlands and disposed his grinding mill while in the company of Comrade Koro and Comrade Gun Powder, also known as Engebert Zowa.
“Up to now if people see a Jeep Cherokee in the area, they run away. The witness will also state that since Mutasa was ejected from Zanu PF, the violence incidences have reduced dramatically,” the papers added.
Biti said another witness, a soldier Betty Mutsvangwa “will state that Mutasa was a terror in the neighbourhood.
He himself would carry a rubber sling which he would personally use to attack MDC supporters.”
Jonathan Ngowani, who was the MDC-T organising secretary in Headlands, was assaulted at a base where Mafusa Felto, Aleck Makurumidze and Patrick Gorosviba were beaten to death.
Another victim who had a three-month-old baby was raped by several people and she reported the matter at Nyathi Police Station.
Shephard Maisiri, whose son Christpowers was killed in a suspected act of arson, was also allegedly assaulted by Mutasa on several occasions.
Maisiri will state that he was kidnapped by Mutasa and taken to a house he did not know, where they allegedly found a dead person who was hit by a hammer and a woman from Buhera who had also been assaulted.
Way back in 2000, Mutasa addressed a rally and ordered that Maisiri be caught and brought to book.
Maisiri, together with other MDC-T supporters, were forced to live in the bush and eventually left and went to Harare to seek refuge.
Maisiri was tortured a record 10 times in his nine encounters with Mutasa, allegedly leading to the petrol bombing of his hut, killing his son.
In 2001, he was assaulted by a woman who called herself Madhodhi while at a bakery in Rusape and was taken to Mutasa, who allegedly spit in his face before ordering that he be given sadza and kapenta, the papers stated.
Maisiri was allegedly handcuffed and tied on an electricity pole before being assaulted.
He was only saved by Shadreck Beta and Mandy Chimene, who ordered his release, the papers further showed. The case is yet to be heard by the courts.