Zanu-PF party chairperson Mike Madiro and the party’s former women’s acting chairperson Dorothy Mabika were today acquitted of stealing cattle bought for President Robert Mugabe’s birthday celebrations in Mutare last year.
In her ruling today Magistrate Lucy Anne Mungwari cited insufficient evidence to convict the two politicians accused by colleagues in their party of stealing cattle they had bought from a local farmer to slaughter at the president’s birthday celebrations last year.
The magistrate said evidence produced in court failed to support charges of stock theft of ten beasts leveled against the two. She said the matter should have been treated as a disciplinary issue within the party and not as a criminal matter before the courts.
Ms. Mungwari said the accused failed to report the existence of the cattle to the party’s structures to ensure accounting channels were followed, a matter she said could have been dealt with internally. Mr. Madiro and Ms. Mabika were accused of stock theft emanating from their purchase of ten heads of cattle from Zanu-PF member John Chirimambowa.
According to the charges, however, the cattle were never moved from Mr. Chirimambowa’s middle Sabi farm for the February 21st Movement celebrations last year. When only three beasts were slaughtered later at a Zanu-PF celebration, Chirimambowa took the issue to the media, which prompted a police investigation.
The acquittal brought jubilation from Madiro’s and Mabika’s relatives. Madiro himself expressed satisfaction over the ruling and said he would now focus on helping his party win the upcoming elections.
Mabika thanked God and her church congregation for the ruling.
“What I have to do is to thank my Lord as in the book of Daniel our God is able so I have to continue to thank God, who does let down his children. I have to say thank you to the people of my church in Cranborne Methodist church and those in Chipinge who stood by me in prayer.”
Madiro’s and Mabika’s attorney, Tinofara Hove, was also naturally pleased with the outcome and said the ruling vindicates his clients and confirms their claims that “there was no charge to answer for.”
However, Ms. Mabika’s days in court are not over. She faces another two counts of stock theft and obstruction of justice over her donation of six dairy bull calves she received from farmer Dawid Jourbert.
The calves allegedly died of starvation due to lack of supplementary feeding and a shortage of milk. Mabika is alleged to have altered minutes of a Zanu-PF meeting to state that she had raised the issue in a provincial party meeting, when she allegedly had not done so.
Her application to dismiss that charge was today thrown out by another magistrate, Sekesai Chiwundura, who insisted she must stand trial.