Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter
Zimbabwe People’s Front political party president Owen Kuchata (34) was yesterday jailed nine years for attempting to petrol-bomb the First Family’s Alpha Omega Dairy farm in Mazowe.
On the first count of possessing weaponry for sabotage, regional magistrate Mr Hoseah Mujaya sentenced Kuchata to nine years before suspending one year on condition of good behaviour.
For money laundering, Kuchata was slapped with a two-year jail term.
Mr Mujaya said that of the two years, one year will run concurrently with the eight years, leaving Kuchata with nine effective years.
Kuchata pleaded for the court’s leniency after Mr Mujaya told him his offence could attract life imprisonment.
“I am asking for forgiveness,” he said. “I will never repeat it again and have come to realise that what I did was wrong. I’m a father of one and the sole breadwinner also looking after my parents.”
When asked by Mr Mujaya why he committed the offence, Kuchata said people’s houses were being demolished, hence by bombing President Mugabe’s property he wanted him to see how it feels to have your property destroyed.
“I wanted him to also experience how it feels to have your private property demolished the way people who had their houses demolished,” he said. “I noticed how Zimbabweans are suffering and thought by bombing his private property, he will also feel the pain.”
Kuchata added: “I did not want to remove the President from power, but I only wanted him to feel the pain.”
He said together with his co-accused Solomon Makumbe (29), Silas Pfupa (37) and Borman Ngwenya (30) they were going to leave fliers at the scene, which bore the name of his party and his name as the leader.
Kuchata said the fliers were going to be inscribed: “Ichi chiratidzo chirikutaura kurwadziwa kuri kuita vana veZimbabwe pakupwanyirwa kwavari kuita dzimba dzavo.”
He said they intended to go back to the scene and throw the fliers all over as a way of informing the President that they were the perpetrators.
Mr Mujaya further asked Kuchata if the way he wanted change in Zimbabwe was proper, to which he replied: “Then, I thought it was proper only to later realise I was committing an offence after my arrest.”
Mr Mujaya questioned: “You said you were representing Zimbabweans, did you ever think you would hurt some of the people who were there at the dairy?”
Kuchata said the information they had was that there would be no people during the night at the dairy.
Mr Mujaya asked how they got the information: “I personally went there with Ngwenya and Makumbe for reconnaissance on 20 January.”
Kuchata said corruption in Zimbabwe also drove him to commit the offence.
He alleged that (former CMED head) Mr Godwills Masimirembwa, (former ZBC Holdings chief executive) Mr Happison Muchechetere and (former Premier Service Medical Aid Society) Mr Cuthbert Dube committed some cases of corruption but were never tried or arrested.
Kuchata implicated Makumbe and Pfupa as the brains behind the petrol bombs citing their military background.
Prosecutor Mr Michael Reza had proposed 20 years effective for Kuchata.
“This charge is so serious that the legislature found it appropriate that the maximum sentence be life in jail,” he said. “An effective of 20 years may serve the interest of justice. If given a lenient sentence, the public can be like minded thinking they can go scot-free.”