BULAWAYO – Police Commissioner General Godwin Matanga is not qualified for the job, his predecessor Augustine Chihuri claims in court documents.
Now living in exile, Chihuri also accuses Matanga of “continuously and systematically engaging in a strategy of harassing my family, relatives and workers” after he left the country in the wake of a November 2017 military coup that ousted former President Robert Mugabe.
Chihuri remained loyal to Mugabe until the end, and was dismissed by the new government after 27 years as police boss.
Chihuri is fighting moves to seize his properties, which the National Prosecuting Authority alleges were acquired using over US$32 million looted from the Zimbabwe Republic Police.
Chihuri denies corruption and blames his successor for vindictively commissioning an audit covering the years 2010 to 2017 in a bid to find wrongdoing.
“Commissioner General Matanga is using all tactics to persecute me. As a result of his incompetence, which is due to lack of education, he is doing all that he can in order to secure his post.” Chihuri claimed.
“He does not even hold an O’ Level certificate which is a basic requirement for a constable to join the police. It goes to show that he was rewarded for being a willing participant in the coup process, and not on merit.”
Chihuri claims Matanga holds a diploma from the Zimbabwe Institute of Public Administration and Management, which makes his position “vulnerable… because his deputies are more educated than him with Master’s and even PhD degrees.”
Chihuri also accuses Matanga of issuing an instruction to a junior police officer to burn down his Greystone Park home in December 2017.
Hardlife Maukazuva, who was arrested for starting the fire, is from the same village as Matanga, according to Chihuri.
“The matter was reported to Borrowdale police but the matter never saw the light of day,” Chihuri claims.
Chihuri also claims Matanga has sent armed police officers to harass his family while demanding they give up his location.
Through his lawyer Addington Chinake, Chihuri denies all allegations of corruption. He insists that Matanga was in charge of administration at the time, and a ZRP Retention Fund he allegedly looted was is managed by the finance ministry. He says the Auditor General had found no wrongdoing.
Chihuri raises several constitutional issues about the manner in which the National Prosecuting Authority has set about hunting down his assets, and freezing them.
Chihuri says a June 12 ‘unexplained wealth order’ which requires him to prove his innocence against alleged criminal activity violates his right to presumption of innocence until proven guilty, guaranteed by section 70 of the constitution.
“By allowing the court to make an ex parte order which is final in nature against the applicants without affording them a right to be heard, section 37B(1) of the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Amendment Act violates the applicants’ right to protection of the law as enshrined in section 56(1) of the constitution… and the right to a fair hearing as enshrined in section 69 of the constitution,” Chihuri says in the application also filed on behalf of his wife, children and five companies.
“By limiting itself only to people who hold property whose value is greater than US$100,000, section 37C(1) of the Act unfairly and discriminately targets the applicants on the basis of their social and economic status in violation of section 56(3) of the constitution.
“Section 37(B)1 as read with section 371 of the Act violate the applicants’ property rights as enshrined in section 71(2) of the constitution by taking away their liberty to deal with their property as they please on the basis of an unexplained wealth order which was filed, heard and granted in breach of the audi alterum partem rule.”
Chihuri says he started his companies with the help of a loan from a local bank, and made millions from farming activities.
He also defends his wife who was a supplier for the ZRP, insisting that other spouses of police and military commanders were also granted such tenders – like Jocelyn Chiwenga who supplied the ZRP with traffic police sleeves and Mary Chiwenga who was the government’s travel agent.