By Phil Tejane|
Now Daily Investigation|
Acting president and justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa has deployed war veterans to the National Prosecution Authority to destroy files and evidence of political murders by the army since 1980, Now Daily can exclusively reveal.
The sinister plot has been blown, however, after some top lawyers within the NPA resisted the infiltration by the three-man war veterans group of colonel Solomon Siziba, majors Msipa and Manyeruke.
Frustrated by their lack of progress in getting access to the assigned sensitive files, Siziba beat up NPA director and deputy prosecutor-general Florence Ziyambi on February 13 2015, touching her private parts and threatening to shoot her dead. Ziyambi, wife of deputy home affairs minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, has since reported the assault to the police and the matter is pending before the courts. The case has attracted a wave of condemnation from lawyers and women’s rights groups. Lawyers demanded answers about the unexplained presence of the army soldiers at NPA and asked parliament to intervene.
“We believe that the war veterans’ mission was to steal files. They expressed particular interest in files related to the 2008 election violence, killings in Chiadzwa and cases related to Gukurahundi,” said a source at the NPA. Several files had already disappeared, said the source.
Siziba was deloyed to the NPA as director of administration and secretary of the board, although he does not hold a law degree as the the ideal candidate should have. Instead, the war veteran, who joined the army in 1981, only holds a dubious MBA and a string of military qualifications unrelated to the law.
The assault on Ziyambi riled Mnangagwa as the veterans’ mission to destroy files and block prosecutions of soldiers who committed political crimes was now in jeopardy, NPA sources told Now Daily.
The MDC has compiled a dossier, Footprints of Abuse, detailing murders, rape, torture, arson, looting and destruction by nearly 200 named officers between 2008 and 2009. The list includes generals, colonels, majors and other high-ranking soldiers, who were acting on the orders of Mnangagwa as chairman of the discredited Joint Operations Command which waged a terror campaign in 2008 after president Robert Mugabe lost elections to MDC and Morgan Tsvangirai. Mnangagwa later as defence minister and ordered the extermination of illegal diamond hunters in the disputed Marange fields. Siziba’s appointment to the NPA in 2014 was a mystery as he had just been made deputy commander of 1 Infantry Brigade in Bulawayo on September 1, 2013, after an eight-year stint as military ‘adviser’ at the Zimbabwean embassy in Botswana.
Questions have arisen over why Mnangagwa drafted Siziba into NPA instead of allowing him to get promotion in the ZNA on the basis of his military qualifications. Siziba was battalion adjutant at 1:8 Infantry Battalion, administrative officer at ZNA HQ, personnel officer for the SADC force in DRC, commanding officer 4:3 Infantry Battalion and also served in Mozambique. He was awarded the independence, liberation, Mozambique and DRC campaign medals.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights condemned the attack on Ziyambi and deplored the presence of army soldiers at NPA.
“The ZLHR expresses its deep concern about the presence of members of the ZNA within the NPA, and at such high levels within the institution. Such ‘secondments’ clearly undermine the independence of the NPA,” ZLHR said in a statement. “The NPA is not able to carry out its duties impartially, fairly, equitably and without bias in accordance with section 194 (d) of the Constitution, without clear institutional independence from the ZNA. Without strict institutional separation, military factions may intimidate and exert pressure on the NPA to take up or disregard certain prosecutions that would be favourable or unfavourable to their interests.”
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