BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
A Harare man who disclosed in court that he was issued with military uniform at the Zanu PF headquarters, which he used to terrorise residents during the January protests, has revealed the identity of an army official who allegedly gave him the camouflage.
Shepherd Magorimbo, who admitted that he was a member of Zanu PF, told the Harare Magistrates’ Court last week that he was given the uniform by Fungai Previous Makoni, a member of the Zimbabwe National Army’s (ZNA) artillery department.
After Magorimbo’s disclosure, Harare magistrate Obedience Matare ordered that Makoni should be summoned to appear in court to respond to the allegations
Prosecutor Molly Murozvi told Matare that she communicated with army officials at the ZNA headquarters, who confirmed that Makoni was a member of the army and was based in Domboshava.
Murozvi said she asked the official to facilitate Makoni’s appearance in court, but was told that the army would give her a response later on.
However, the response was not forthcoming.
One of Magorimbo’s pictures where he was clad in army uniform went viral on social media after his arrest in January.
Magorimbo was acquitted of robbing a motorist, Nicholus Mupazi, along Baines Avenue in Harare, and Tapfumaneyi Muviyi of $94 and four mobile phones on January 15.
This was despite the fact that he was arrested by the army at the Seke Road flyover while clad in a ZNA uniform after he was identified by one his alleged victims.
Police and the military claimed in the aftermath of the protests that rogue soldiers were responsible for the fatal shooting of protesters during the demonstrations.
They also claimed that their uniforms were stolen and were used to commit offences by criminals.
Former Zimbabwe Defence Forces chief of staff Lieutenant General (Retired) Douglas Nyikayaramba also alleged at the time that protesters broke into police armouries and stole guns which they used to kill citizens, including a police officer, during the national shutdown that turned violent.
But the army later admitted that police investigations had shown that deserters and bogus soldiers were responsible for the killings.