Patricia Nabanyama, the widow of Patrick Nabanyama, is pushing for her husband’s alleged abductors to be charged with murder, after he was declared dead last week.
Nabanyama, who was abducted under mysterious circumstances from his home in June 2000, was declared dead by Bulawayo provincial magistrate, Rose Dube.
The accused persons, who include Stanley Ncube, Ephraim Moyo, Julius Sibanda and Simon Rwodzi were initially charged with kidnapping Nabanyama.
At the time, the current Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture, David Coltart, handled the case while he still practised as a lawyer with a Bulawayo- based law firm.
On Monday Coltart told NewsDay that one of the hurdles in the case was the amnesty pronounced by President Mugabe, which still stands to date.
“The problem that we face in this case is that the accused persons were never charged with kidnapping as that offence was covered by the amnesty pronounced by President Robert Mugabe in 2001.
Despite the fact that the kidnapping case was rock solid, they evaded prosecution because of the amnesty, which as far as I know is still in place,” he said.
Coltart said the murder charge was also levelled against them at the time, but was later dropped.
“The accused persons were charged with murder.
However, they all jointly alleged that the last person
who they handed Patrick over to was Cain Nkala, who was also later murdered.
Due to this, and because the prosecution was not enthusiastic about pursuing the case, the murder case collapsed,” he added.
Zimbabwean law states that if someone disappears for seven years that person is declared dead.
The Zimbabwe Victims of Organised Violence Trust (ZVOVT), a Bulawayo based organisation that represents victims of political violence, and is representing Nabanyama’s wife in the case is demanding that the Attorney General’s Office retrieve past court records for the prosecution of the remaining war veterans, with the inclusion of additional charges of murder.
“All along the accused persons have been charged with kidnapping.
However, since the court has finally declared Nabanyama dead, the prosecution of the remaining accused should proceed and they should now be charged with kidnapping and murder Nabanyama’s wife is being represented by the organisation and these are her wishes,” said Bekithemba Nyathi, ZVOVT secretary.
Patrick Nabanyama, who was abducted under mysterious circumstances from his home in June 2000, was finally declared dead last week and his wife has applied for private prosecution of her husband’s alleged murderers.
A private prosecution takes place when the Attorney General (AG), who is the public prosecutor in every criminal case, officially declines to prosecute for whatever reason and then issues a nonne proseqie which is a certificate that allows one to engage any other lawyer or prosecutor, other than the AG, to deal with the case.
A private prosecution cannot proceed without the certificate. Nabanyama’s wife has applied for the certificate.