Chief Mkanganwi of Bikita yesterday cautioned the private prosecutor in legislator Munyaradzi Kereke’s rape case to stop threatening him into answering questions because as a chief he also has power to preside over matters back in his village
This was after he was cross-examined by private prosecutor Mr Charles Warara on his relationship with Kereke.
However, the presiding magistrate intervened and advised Chief Mkanganwi that although he is a chief, he was standing in court as a witness.
Zanu-PF Bikita West MP Kereke is accused of raping a 13-year-old relative in 2010 and indecently assaulting her sister who was 15 years at the time.
Chief Mkanganwi, born Alpheus Njodzi is testifying as a witness in Kereke’s defence case.
Asked by Mr Charles Warara if Kereke is one of the people who help him in Bikita, the chief said he never received a cent, bus fare or a drink from Kereke.
“I get assistance from my child who is a police officer. I have enough resources. The accused helps other people in the community,” said Chief Mkanganwi.
The prosecutor asked if the chief attended a series of meetings in Harare in 2013 to campaign for Kereke to be elected member of Parliament.
“We came individually as five chiefs to Harare to request that accused contest as a Member of Parliament for Bikita in 2013 elections,” replied Chief Mkanganwi.
Why did you want accused to contest in your district?” asked the private prosecutor.
Chief Mkanganwi replied that they had seen that the accused could win the elections and represent them.
“Is that the practice that chiefs nominate who contests?” asked Mr Warara.
“We came to make a request like others knowing that he is the one who could win,” he replied.
Mr Warara asked why the accused was rejected, prompting the chiefs to come and see the former Vice President Joice Mujuru.
“Accused was not rejected, but the opposition was celebrating saying that if he did not contest they would win. We heard the suspicion that he might not contest,” said Chief Mkanganwi.
Mr Warara asked if the chief was happy that Kereke won as MP and he said he was very happy.
“You wouldn’t want him to go to jail?” asked Mr Warara.
The chief replied; “If he is found guilty he should be sentenced accordingly. As chiefs, we are not allowed to adjudicate such matters. We were told by former VP Mujuru that accused was facing rape charges and we asked why he was not arrested and prosecuted.
“We were told that the accused stole documents and sold them and that he was fighting with former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Dr Gideon Gono.”
Kereke called his brother Claitos Kereke as the next witness.