Clive Malunga

Majoring in Minors: A Typical Case of the Miscarriage of Justice

In 1983 I voluntarily terminated my Zimbabwe Defence Forces contract in what was commonly called the demobilisation exercise. From 19 Infantry Battalion in Ntabazinduna, Bulawayo, I traveled straight to Harare to start a new life. I started staying in Warren Park 1 renting a 2 roomed house. A year later I managed to acquire a housing stand in the same area.

I used to spend most of my time at ZANU (PF) headquarters, Number 88 Manica Road with a number of friends; Andrew Mazawara, Ceasefire, Lovemore Makiwa, Maxwell Mukonowengwe, Shema Shenjere Mutizwa and Lameck Mahachi. That was the place where I would get a lot of information concerning the welfare of former combatants.

After the completion of the Sheraton Hotel in 1985, I was informed at ZANU (PF) Headquarters that there was a recruitment exercise at the conference centre where a number of former fighters would be employed as security agents (CIO). Comrade Nation was responsible for the exercise.  I was interviewed and put on a waiting list pending the final selection. I then discovered that Comrade Nation was engaging and giving first preference to his several girlfriends. It became obvious that it was pointless to keep on pursuing that job and I gave up.

In 1984 I started attending lessons at CCOSA College (Christian College of Southern Africa) studying public relations. From CCOSA, I moved to People’s College, Speciss College, Range House College, ILSA Independent College and Centre for Business and Technical Studies, studying marketing, selling and sales management, customer service, buyer behaviour, consumerism, financial management, strategic management, internet marketing, market intelligence and planning, marketing research, international marketing, strategic marketing management, marketing policy and strategy, business management, sales management and public relations. My best teacher was Mr. Matthew Chandaengerwa who taught public relations at CCOSA College in 1984. ZANU (PF) paid my college fees but it was not easy studying on an empty stomach as I was not employed.  I got many diplomas, an advanced diploma and a graduate diploma.

In 1985 I was sent to the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management for employment. Quite a number of former combatants were selected from the party. There were about ten of us and I still remember we had Comrade Tsime and Comrade Mafuta. By that time, I had already started my musical career.  In 1985, I recorded my first single Marimba Jive, then Kumusha, Mukoma Chiroora and Gwenyambira.

The Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management fell under the Ministry of Tourism which was led by Amai Victoria Chitepo. All former combatants were employed as game scouts. At the National Parks and Wildlife Management office was a Mr. Kushamba who worked as an administrator. He was very unfriendly to all former combatants because we had been imposed by the ruling party. He used to mock us (former combatants), claiming we knew nothing because (as he thought) we hadn’t gone to school. He constantly harassed us. When I realised that our harassment by this man was not going to end I decided to teach him a lesson. One day after work, I left the office premises together with him. When we were about to cross North Avenue, now Josiah Tongogara Street, I gave him a clap which sent him to the ground. From that day on, Mr. Kushamba began to treat former combatants with respect.

After a while working as scouts, Comrade Tsime, Comrade Mafuta and I decided to become investigating officers in the department. By then there was a lot of rhino and elephant poaching in the country. At that time National Parks’ department of investigations was led by two white racist guys called Mr. Nott and Mr. Stray. Our applications to join the department were turned down. We got information that those two guys were exporting poached rhino and elephant horns to Zambia.  We then forced our way into the department. They had no option but to accept us.

We conducted regular raids into the outskirts of Harare using fake money supplied by the CID Law and Order Department and with each member of our group armed with a pistol supplied by the National Parks and Wildlife Management armoury. We would sometimes report our findings to the Minister, Amai Chitepo, but she was not helpful at all.  When we told her the problems which we faced in the field, she would always say we were the problem.  Mr. Nott and Mr. Stray refused to offer us a single office for us to operate from. They told us to write our reports from Harare Gardens. Despite the challenges we faced, we started unearthing scandals which were happening within the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management. Top officials in the department were using the Siavonga Border point to smuggle rhino horns and elephant tasks into Zambia. At one time we set a trap for rhino and elephant horn smugglers at Courtney Hotel, together with the CID using fake money. The trap was successful.

I then volunteered to travel to Kariba on a fact finding mission. I was provided with a travel warrant to and from Kariba. I informed Mr. Lovemore Moyo, the Parks and Wildlife ranger who was in charge of the Kariba Area. I travelled to Kariba by bus. When I arrived in Mahombekombe, Ranger Lovemore Moyo was at the bus stop waiting for me. He drove me to the National Parks and Wildlife offices and later to his homestead very close to the Zambian Siavonga border post. Mr Moyo lived in a splendid house, which compared very well with houses in the affluent low density areas of Harare. I was to stay at his cottage which also was very beautiful.

My second day in Kariba saw me visiting the high density suburbs of Nyamhunga and Mahombekombe. In Nyamhunga, I had the opportunity to meet Nyaminyami Sounds musical group which was led by Richard Mapfuwamhandu. I made many friends quickly. I believed that having many friends would help me get a lot of information in the shortest possible time. Those days I drank beer, smoked cigarettes and marijuana, so making friends was very easy. In just one week, I had gathered mountains of data. I would use weekends to compile notes, analyse my data and get some rest. On the same weekends, Ranger Moyo would go hunting for a Kudu or an impala. Then there would be a big braai party for the Moyo family and their friends, who included many law enforcement agents.  The braai parties were always held at the Moyo residence.

I wanted more information about what happened at the Parks residence. In my bid to penetrate the Kariba community in order to get more information, I fell in love with Lovemore Moyo’s close relative. I got to know that Moyo was well-known in Kariba and in the nearby Zambian town of Siavonga. I was also told that rhino horns and elephant tasks were smuggled through Siavonga entry point. I returned to Kariba about four times to gather information and each time I got quality information from my girlfriend. She revealed a lot about elephant and rhino poaching and how the horns were then smuggled out of Zimbabwe through Zambia.

Upon my return to Harare, I immediately met with CID Harare to plan an operation to trap the smugglers. I had observed ZRP Kariba officers enjoying meals and socializing with the Moyo family, and I knew that including them in the arrest plan would compromise the operation. I had realized that their personal relationship with the Moyos would surely influence their judgement and actions, and I could not risk such a critical mistake. I was determined to ensure a successful arrest, and that meant relying only on those who could remain objective and impartial.

In October 1986, Africa’s liberation icon, President Samora Machel of Mozambique perished in a plane crash. Like most freedom loving Africans, I was devastated by the news of his demise. In his honour, I recorded a single called, Gamba ReAfrica. This kept me in Harare for a while.

While CID Harare was scrutinizing and deliberating on my proposal to go to Kariba, I decided to go to Mutare where poachers had established another smuggling route. I wanted to gather more information. The department of National Parks and Wildlife Management provided me with a train warrant ticket. Prior to my departure, I called the National Parks investigating officer for Mutare telling him that I was on my way to the city to investigate poaching and smuggling activities allegedly happening in the Machipanda border area. He welcomed my impending visit saying since he was working alone in the area, my involvement would greatly reduce the burden on him. I had planned to board the train at 10 pm so that I would arrive in Mutare early morning the next day.  I still vividly remember the items I put in a satchel that I carried for my journey; a jacket, towel, tooth brush, toothpaste, bath soap, comb and train ticket. By 9 pm I was already at Harare Train Station. I sat on a bench with a middle aged man with whom I started talking about many trivial issues. At around 9:45 pm, I decided to go to the bathroom, leaving my new-found friend with my bag. When I returned, the man was nowhere to be found. While I was still desperately looking for the man, the train sounded its horn and departed.

I immediately went to Harare Central Police Station to make a report about the theft. I could not reach my Mutare colleague since he had no landline at his house. I only managed to explain my unfortunate circumstance to him the following day. I also went back to our Harare offices and reported the incident to my management. As I was still waiting to be issued with another warrant to travel to Mutare, my informer in Kariba phoned me that I should travel to Kariba without delay because something serious was about to happen. The management at Harare National Parks and Wildlife offices issued me with a ticket to Kariba. 

When I got to Kariba, I was told that a truck carrying rhino and elephant horns was going to cross to Zambia. I was excited. I was about to uncover and stop one of the biggest heists of wildlife contraband ever. The rot in the Department of National Parks was finally about to be exposed. I was almost feeling a sense of destiny!  Then I got a call!  I was told to go to Kariba Police Station to discuss with the officers there. At Kariba Police Station, I was introduced to two gentlemen whom I was told were from CID Mutare, only to be told that they had come to arrest me for selling a train warrant. The officers told me that they had been instructed by Parks and Wildlife Management Authority to arrest me. I spent that night at Kariba Police Station holding cells.

That evening the two detectives came to my cell and tortured me. They handcuffed and started beating me under the feet and in my palms. I told them that what they were doing to me was not permissible at law. They only stopped when they saw that my hands and feet had swollen. The next morning, I was transferred from Kariba to Mutare. More than the pain from the physical torture I experienced, was the pain of a failed mission. It was clear to me that some individuals at Parks had realised that I was going to expose their criminal activities and acted to stop me just on the nick of time. With me in the police cells, they would easily carry their loot across the border unhindered.

I was handcuffed all the way from Kariba to Mutare. When we finally arrived in Mutare, my hands had swollen further and I was also starving. It was already evening, and the officers did not take any statement from me until the following day. I was locked in a filthy cell with stinking dirty blankets. My life was suddenly turning into hell.

The next morning the police took a statement from me. My charge was selling a warrant ticket to a person who did not deserve to use government travelling documents. The ticket had a monetary value of $5. That very day I was dragged to court by the two CID officers. An alert magistrate Masunda noticed that I was in pain and asked me why. I showed him my swollen hand and he ordered that I be taken to hospital for treatment. An x-ray was taken which showed that I had suffered a broken left arm. A plaster was put on my left arm. When I went back to court the same day, the magistrate was shocked to see me in plaster. He told the court that the officers had committed the offence of grievous bodily harm (GBH) and told me to return to court after a month. In the meantime, I lodged a report on grievous bodily harm (GBH) against the two CID officers at Mutare Central Police Station.

When court proceedings for my case resumed, the state failed to prove that I had committed the alleged offence.  After appearing in court three times, the case was dismissed for lack of evidence. However, as I was leaving the court, the two CID officers told me that I was not going anywhere, since they had arranged an identification parade. It was a most scandalous identification parade, which did not meet the minimum requirements of such a parade. A middle aged woman whom I had never met before claimed I had allegedly sold the ticket to her. As I saw it, identification parade was held to deter me from pursuing my GBH case. Magistrate Masunda demanded to see photos taken during the identification parade as required by law but there were no photos. The case was dismissed again.

Sometime later, one of the two detectives called me to Mutare to attend court. I thought it was about my broken arm. However, when I got there I discovered that my same old case had been transferred to another magistrate called Drastic. At that time there was much animosity between white Rhodesians and former combatants. Against the previous ruling by Magistrate Masunda and against all evidence to the contrary, Magistrate Drastic found me guilty of selling a government warrant ticket and sentenced me to two months’ imprisonment. I had never imagined the case would take such a nasty twist but I had no money to engage a lawyer. It was clearly a case of double jeopardy but there was nothing I could do.

I started serving my sentence at Mutare Central Prison but was later transferred to Harare’s Chikurubi Maximum Prison upon my request. Going to prison is like going to hell. All your freedoms are thrown into the dustbin. Everything is done through strict orders, for example, you are told to wake up, sit down, eat, bath, sleep, keep quiet etc. The experience is so traumatizing that a normal person wouldn’t want to go there twice. The worst part is that you will stay together with hardcore criminals like murderers, rapists, conmen and robbers. When I left prison I wanted to pursue GBH against the police officers but was told that the docket was missing.

That was one of my most horrifying experiences. Who would have imagined that a whole system would prefer to lose a truck load of poached rhino and elephant horns in order to punish a falsely accused person for an offence with an economic value of  $5? Where is justice when the guilty punish the innocent? I boggled my mind then. It still boggles my mind.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *