Thin line between making laws and breaking them

Mary Mundeya

MEMBERS of Parliament are meant to be lawmakers, but they sometimes find themselves on the wrong side of the law.

She Corresponds Africa takes a look at MPs in the current 9th parliament who violated the law, resulting in their arrest on serious as well as flimsy charges.

Wadyajena on fraud and money laundering

ZANU-PF legislator for Gokwe-Nembudziya Justice Mayor Wadyajena and four Cotton Company of Zimbabwe officials were in August 2022 arrested for fraud and money laundering after they allegedly diverted to their own use US$5,834,000 meant to buy bale ties for government’s cotton merchant.

Gokwe-Nembudziya MP, Justice Mayor Wadyajena

In February this year, he escaped the fraud and money laundering charges after a Harare magistrate removed him and his alleged accomplices from remand, citing the State’s failure to prosecute them six months after their arrest.

The magistrate ordered prosecution to continue by way of summons adding that there was no justification in keeping the accused on remand with no indications as to when their trial will start.

Chingosho on calling the First Lady a prostitute

Former Local Government deputy minister and Headlands Zanu PF legislator Christopher Chingosho was in August 2021 arrested for calling First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa a prostitute after he was snubbed at an event held in his constituency.

Headlands MP, Christopher Chingosho

At the time, police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed Chingosho’s arrest, adding: “We’re still investigating the nature of the report.”

He was later released after being held in police custody for a number of hours.

Chanda on stealing food aid

Zanu PF Gokwe Sesame MP Gordon Chanda in January 2020 was arrested for the alleged abuse of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s agricultural inputs, rice and extortion.

Chanda and his alleged accomplice, ward 13 councillor Georgina Chirongoma, appeared at the Gokwe regional magistrates’ court where they were granted bail after paying ZW$1 000 bail each.

The case was later dismissed for lack of evidence.

Mupfumira on US$95 million corruption

Former Tourism minister and senator for Mashonaland West province Prisca Mupfumira was in 2019 charged with corruption involving US$95 million National Social Security Authority funds.

Former Tourism Minister, Prisca Mupfumira

She was later fired by President Mnangagwa for conduct inappropriate for a government minister and her case is still pending in the courts. It has been deferred to 19 January 2023.

Mandiwanzira on criminal abuse of office

Former Information Communication Technology Minister, Supa Mandiwanzira

Former Information Communication Technology minister and Nyanga South MP Supa Mandiwanzira was arrested during the early days of November 2018 for alleged criminal abuse of office charges involving appointing Tawanda Chinembiri, his personal assistant, to the Potraz board as well as illegally engaging Megawatt Energy to investigate corruption at NetOne without going to tender.

He was later cleared of all the charges.

Machingauta on rape

MDC-Alliance member of Parliament for Budiriro, Costa Machingauta (45) was in April 2021 arrested on allegations of raping a woman he had given a lift into Harare’s central business district (CBD).

National police spokesperson assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the legislator’s arrest.

“It is confirmed that Costa Machingauta has been arrested in connection with a rape report made by a 26-year-old woman he had given a lift into the CBD, then to Mabvuku and back into the CBD. The alleged rape happened in the CBD. The suspect is expected to appear in court soon,” Nyathi said.

The legislator in 2014 had also been arrested on charges of rape involving a university student.

He was remanded out of custody and the case is still before the courts.

Musarurwa on assaulting Mashumba

MDC-T proportional representation MP Yvonne Musarurwa was arrested in November 2021 for allegedly assaulting then party vice-president Thokozani Khupe’s aide Kudzanai Mashumba at a Press conference.

MP Yvonne Musarurwa

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the incident, saying some of Musarurwa’s co-accused were on the run.

Her assault-related arrest came after she allegedly disrupted a Press conference addressed by Mashumba, who wanted to expose party leader Douglas Mwonzora’s alleged embezzlement of funds.

The case is still before the courts.

Nduna on unlawful occupation of gazetted land

Zanu PF’s Chegutu West legislator Dexter Nduna was in August this year arrested for allegedly leading and influencing a foiled land invasion at Risboro Farm in Chegutu alongside 30 000 Zanu PF supporters.

Chegutu MP, Dexter Nduna

The gazetted farm in question was earmarked by the government for urban development under the Smart City project.

The legislator has since been released on free bail and the case is pending.

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