Jailed Independent End Time Message leader Robert Martin Gumbura communicated with alleged coup plotter and former army captain Albert Matapo from prison cells planning on how “they” would dethrone the Government, the court heard yesterday.
State witness, Claudius Mutizwa, a convict, told the court during cross examination by Gumbura’s lawyer that the church leader communicated with Matapo through one prison officer, Chinake’s mobile phone. He said Matapo’s role was to gather manpower and to get guns from Morris Depot’s armoury adding that the rioting at Chikurubhi was not about food, but a political scheme.
On Tuesday the same witness said Gumbura communicated with former Vice President Dr Joice Mujuru from prison cells through letters, strategising on how they were going to form their political party. Mutizwa, a former police detective, alleged that he was an informant at Chikurubhi Maximum Security Prison. He said Chinake and the Deputy officerincharge of Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison Superintendent Jealous Dumbura, were the ones working with Gumbura, acting as messengers conveying letters outside prison. “I was appointed by prisons as an undercover in 2008. When Gumbura told me about his plans, I pretended to be on his side and assured him that I was not going to divulge the information to anyone. Several phone calls were made in my presence in the library and he communicated with Albert Matapo more often through P.O 1 Chinake’s cellphone. Matapo was in London when they first spoke,” he said.
When asked by Gumbura’s lawyer Mr Tapson Dzvetero, about what they (Gumbura and Matapo) spoke about, Mutizwa said: “Matapo’s role was to assist Gumbura with manpower outside and to gather information. He was also supposed to get guns from Morris Depot. People cannot fight war without weapons so Matapo was to source weapons.”
However, Mr Dzvetero accused Mutizwa of lying under oaths. “I put it to you that you are a liar. If you were telling the truth, Matapo, Chinake and Dumbura would have been in the dock together with these accused persons. Again, if you reported back to prisons about what Gumbura was planning, why then is he not being charged with insurgence or banditry?” Mr Dzvetero asked. “I am just an informer not the investigating officer,” Mutizwa replied. “Witness, you are a liar because as an informer if you told the relevant authorities about the rioting which was being planned, Government would have taken steps to avoid it. How come the alleged jail break came as a surprise to the Government when you are saying they knew about it before?” Mr Dzvetero questioned. Mutizwa refused to answer some of Mr Dzvetero’s questions citing security reasons but the magistrate, Mr Francis Mapfumo, ruled that Mutizwa was not a security officer hence should not run away from answering questions.
Gumbura is jointly charged with Blessing Chauke (25), Lucky Mhungu (38), Taurai Dodzo (47), Thomas Chacha (37), Thulani Chizema (32), Jacob Sibanda (28), Elijah Vhumbunu (38) and an armed robber, Lucky Matambanadzo (39). The nine are accused of masterminding a foiled jailbreak. In 2007, Matapo and a group of other former soldiers as well as some MDCT activists were arrested for leading an attempted coup against President Mugabe. Matapo and his colleagues spent four years in remand prison before they were freed in 2010 after the High Court ordered their release, saying their continued incarceration without trial was unlawful. Matapo, however, remained locked up after he was slapped with a fiveyear jail term for trying to escape from jail. Two years were suspended on condition of good behaviour, leaving an effective three year term.