Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter
Zimbabwe People’s Front political party leader Owen Kuchata, who was arrested while trying to petrol-bomb the First Family’s Alpha Omega Dairy farm in Mazowe, yesterday admitted that he indeed wanted to bomb the dairy, and that it was his idea to commit the offence.
Kuchata (34), who does not have legal representation, is jointly charged with Borman Ngwenya (30) on charges of insurgency, sabotage banditry or terrorism.
Their other accomplices Solomon Makumbe (29) and Silas Pfupa (37) were discharged on the charges at the behest of Prosecutor General Johannes Tomana, but are jointly charged with treason emanating from their actions.
Tomana has since been arrested for acting unlawfully by releasing the duo and is on $1 000 bail with stringent conditions.
Kuchata is facing an additional charge of money laundering for terrorism purposes.
He appeared before regional magistrate Mr Hoseah Mujaya for plea recording yesterday and pleaded guilty to trying to petrol-bomb the First Family’s dairy.
Mr Mujaya asked if he had the right to do so and Kuchata in response said, “Since I am representing the rights of other Zimbabweans, I had the right to bomb his private property because Robert Mugabe is causing disorder and problems in this country.”
He said he is the one who gave Ngwenya $36 to purchase the materials for making the petrol bombs.
Kuchata later excepted to the charge of terrorism, arguing that Alpha Omega Dairy was not a Government property, but President Mugabe’s private property, hence the terrorism charge did not stick.
“Your Worship, I have a question, ‘Is Gushungo Dairy the property of the Government of Zimbabwe or the property of Robert Mugabe as an individual?’” he asked.
Prosecutor Mr Michael Reza maintained that terrorism charges were appropriate, saying the attack was not targeted at the dairy as an outfit, but at the office of the Presidency of Zimbabwe.
Kuchata said if that was the case then he was denying the charges and this prompted Mr Mujaya to change the plea to not guilty.
His trial date has been set for February 24.
Kuchata and his alleged accomplices Ngwenya, Makumbe and Pfupa are facing another serious charge of treason after further investigations revealed that they sought to overthrow the Government through unconstitutional means.
Treason charges emerged after it was discovered that the quartet established a militia training base in Mapinga, Mashonaland West, where they planned to commit terror acts, sabotage and banditry.
It is alleged that they proceeded to President Mugabe’s rural home in Zvimba where they carried investigations identifying suitable vulnerable points to sabotage.
On the terrorism charge, Makumbe and Pfupa were released before plea under the instructions of Tomana who is said to have unilaterally suggested that the two be treated as witnesses.
It is alleged that last week police received a tip-off that Kuchata, Ngwenya, Makumbe and Pfupa were planning to bomb Alpha Omega Dairy’s processing plant and tuck shop during the night.
The dairy’s processing plant and tuck shop are located at Gushungo Dairy Estate, Jumbo Road in Mazowe.
Acting on the tip-off, the police proceeded to the farm and laid an ambush about 100 metres from the quartet’s target.
Around 10pm, the detectives saw the men approaching the dairy’s processing plant and immediately arrested them.
They searched them and recovered four Molotov cocktails (bombs) made of petrol, ammonium nitrate, nails and sand in 750 millilitres Chateau brand empty bottles.