By Tarisai Machakaire
Zanu PF politburo member Kudzai Chipanga’s failure to appear in court as a star witness has caused Godfrey Tsenengamu, 33, Godwin Gomwe, 37, and Vengai Musengi, 36,’s case to be struck off the roll.
The trio were being charged with inciting public violence and provoking President Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace. The trio had to be removed from remand yesterday because investigators could not record Chipanga’s statement.
Chipanga was the main witness in the case.
“The State is not being serious with this case for them to take so long to record a witness statement. I don’t think they would be prejudiced if accused persons are removed from remand and they proceed by way of summons,” ruled Harare magistrate Tendai Mahwe yesterday.
Prosecutor Sabastian Mutizirwa had advised the court to use its discretion on the best way to proceed with the case after failing to access Chipanga’s statement.
On the last court appearance, the trio’s lawyer Zivai Macharaga slammed Chipanga for failing to avail himself to give a statement for the last three months.
“This case was remanded to June 7 to allow court to hear the statement of one Kudzai Chipanga and on that date the State told the court that the witness had not been located and needed more time to locate him,” he said.
“The matter was deferred and the state was given a month but again still the court was told Chipanga’s statement was still outstanding and actually blamed him (Chipanga) for misleading investigators that he was coming from Mutare to Harare to have the statement recorded.
“…I am told on May 23 he was a stone’s throw from this building conducting his political business yet he can’t travel to central police station to give his statement.”
According to court records, Gomwe and his accomplices sent WhatsApp messages mobilising youths and war veterans to join them in what they termed “Save Zanu PF Campaign”. The group allegedly verbally attacked Mugabe and other top government officials.
It is further alleged that in pursuit of their agenda, the trio attended a war veterans’ City Sports Centre meeting of February 18 and reportedly shouted “Let’s start a war”.
They reportedly tore and burnt T-shirts inscribed vana vose kuna amai (everyone should follow Grace). According to court papers, the trio’s intention was to incite war veterans to commit acts of public violence. Daily News