Serious divisions within President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party were exposed in court today when two officials took the stand in Mutare in a case in which former Manicaland provincial chairman, Mike Madiro, and acting Women’s League chairperson, Dorothy Mabika, are accused of allegedly stealing cattle donated for the president’s birthday last year.
Zanu-PF members John Chirimambowa and Angawashe Nelia Maenda followed their party’s secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa, in incriminating the two for allegedly stealing 10 cattle donated to the 21st February Movement for the president’s birthday bash.
Chirimambowa, a farmer and Zanu-PF provincial secretary for production and labour, told Mutare magistrate Lucy Anne Mungwari that he sold the 10 beasts to the party for $5,000, adding they should have been slaughtered for the celebrations to mark Mr. Mugabe’s 88th birthday.
Defence lawyer Tinofara Hove said the two are victims of factionalism in Zanu-PF in Manicaland Province.
The defense said the fact that the beasts are still at Chirimambowa’s farm means he is the one who stole the cattle since he had been paid in full.
Chirimambowa refuted the claim saying factionalism had nothing to do with the case.
Mr. Hove claimed that Chirimambowa was part of a plan to persecute the two, an allegation he denied.
Maenda, the acting Zanu-PF provincial administrator and the party’s secretary for production and labour in the Women’s League, said accused Mabika of ordering her to alter minutes of an earlier meeting about the missing cattle to save her from the police.
The accused is said to have sent a text message to another Zanu-PF colleague asking them to work together to change the minutes concerning three of the 10 beasts.
Maenda told the court that the former provincial chairman also instructed her to move the cattle to the home of Zanu-PF councillor for ward 25, Peter Dombropoulos’ farm in Odzi.
The accused’s attorney maintained his clients were being used as scapegoats in Zanu-PF factionalism that has torn the former liberation party apart in the province. Two employees who work for Zanu-PF in the province are expected to take the stand before the case is wrapped-up. The case continues tomorrow.