Two councillors, Casper Takura of Tafara and Warship Dumba were on Wednesday interrogated and charged with criminal defamation following a report by Chiyangwa. Police are reportedly looking for six more councillors who participated in the land scam investigation. The notorious Law and Order department is conducting the operation.
“Police have decided to charge the two of us and six other councillors with criminal defamation. We were quizzed for several hours. They released us but we are going back today (Thursday) to sign warned and cautioned statements. Chiyangwa is the complainant.
“Thereafter we will go to court. It’s ridiculous but that’s the country we are living in and we have to get used to these kinds of harassments and abuse of power by those who claim to be well connected,” Dumba told RadioVOP.
A councillor who spoke to RadioVOP Wednesday but has not handed himself over to the police confirmed the crackdown. “Police are visiting the homes of all MDC councillors wanting to arrest us at the instigation of Chiyangwa. This is ridiculous to say the least.
“Instead of arresting Chiyangwa for stealing council land, the police are intimidating us a week after they intimidated journalists who exposed the scandal. When we go to court, we will expose these land looters further.
“They will not intimidate us. Actually we want out find out why Chiyangwa is so desperate to stop this investigation. Chiyangwa thinks that this is still Rhodesia where, when he was police officer he used to intimidate and brutalise freedom fighters. The game has changed and the country is now free from people like Chiyangwa,” said the MDC councillor who was on his way to hand himself over to the police Monday afternoon.
Chiyangwa has laid criminal defamation charges against Harare mayor Muchadeyi Masunda and members of a special council committee appointed to investigate land sales in Harare accusing them of leaking a report containing the allegations to the media with the malicious intention of harming his reputation and his businesses.
Last week, journalists Stanley Gama, Jennifer Dube, Feluna Nleya and Vincent Kahiya were questioned after they exposed the land grab scandal in The Sunday Times and The Standard.
Police did not charge them but recorded their statements. The police wanted to know the source of the document which is now public following its adoption by council. This has paved the way for police to arrest and investigate the land theft. But so far police have not made a move on Chiyangwa, Chombo and others named in the scandal.
Chiyangwa is not new to controversy. In 2004, he was arrested for allegedly spying for the South African government and spent months in remand prison but was acquitted while his accomplices received lengthy jail sentences. Chiyangwa admitted in court that he was getting USD$10 000 a month for his role in the spying ring but claimed that he was doing consultancy work. He denied charges of the spying.
Early the same year he was arrested for obstructing the course of justice after trying to protect directors of ENG capital which had allegedly swindled people of millions of dollars.