The Curious Case Of Zimbabwe's Stolen Guns

Harare, Zimbabwe, 04 December 2009

The MDC-T "transport manager", Pascal Gwezere is still languishing in Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison after the State pulled every trick in the book to block his release on US$50 bail as ordered by the High Court.

Yet there are policemen and soldiers being tried and sentenced for the very same thing and in whose trials nothing is said about Gwezere. Although he is said to have had named accomplices, none of these have been apprehended. The State simply threatens that it has several witnesses ready to testify against Gwezere.

He stands accused of stealing 21 AK 47 rifles from Pomona Barracks in Harare.

It is now understood that the witnesses are the so-called accomplices who have turned on Gwezere. They will implicate him as the ring leader of the plot and they will not be charged with any crime as reward.

It's like in the Mafia movies, where a low-level operative is given immunity by the State in return for bringing in the Big Fish.

Big Fish in this case being MDC-T. It's about pressure on the prime minister and his party ministers. A reminder of how inhospitable life out of the corridors of power is going to be.

The Attorney General is is taking the matter to the Constitutional Court, challenging the High Court decision to give Gwezere bail. Thus a delay is caused. You would be surprised how easily and quickly Gwezere would be freed if Tsvangirai and his party decided they will accept Mugabe's terms and rejoin government.

Only Gwezere is before the courts in Zimbabwe for the stolen guns at Pomona, although Getrudes and soldiers are mentioned liberally every time the case is discussed by the State media.

The MDC-T transport manager had already alleged torture in prison when he appeared before the High Court, and he is still at the Maximum Security in Harare, no doubt getting more of the same treatment.

The authorities seriously do not think that a revolution could be started with 21 stolen guns and little ammunition. Those who have already been tried for the same kind of crime in Zimbabwe confessed that they did it in order that they may be able to feed their families. (The guns would have been sold to criminals, no doubt, and end up trained on the same policemen trading in them).

Most observers are agreed that Gwezere's appears a trumped-up charge. And that is exactly the point of it. It is called harassment. It diverts attention while serving to turn up the heat under the MDC-T.

Meantime, out in the rural areas, Jabulani Sibanda and his friends are moving around ordering the execution of MDC-T office-bearers. The office-bearers on the other hand, have high-tailed it to Harare and hid in safe houses there. Which means there is no one doing the organising of the MDC-T structures in the rural areas.

Campaigning by other means, I suppose.


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