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War at Justice ministry

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A fresh row is looming between Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and his deputy Obert Gutu over alleged continued issuance of press statements by the former without consultation.

A seething Chinamasa last month shocked and stunned Gutu when he charged at him at their government offices in Harare in a heated verbal altercation over the Mutumwa Mawere saga.

In the latest incident, the two are clashing over a press statement by Chinamasa dismissing recent media reports on allegations of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) training Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) officials.

Chinamasa in his statement said laws governing the country did not permit for such an arrangement arguing there was never a conspiracy to manipulate elections by Zec in previous elections.

“The sole purpose of the article is to discredit our institutions, including CIO and Zec,” said Chinamasa.

“As a Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, I am fully aware that there are massive campaigns to utterly discredit some state institutions and individuals who are perceived to be opposed to a regime change agenda.”

However, Gutu dismissed Chinamasa’s statement as “his personal views and not necessarily the views of the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs”.

“I was neither consulted on nor advised about the need to issue such a press advert,” Gutu said.

“Accordingly, I do hereby completely and unequivocally disassociate from the contents of minister Chinamasa’s latest press adverts.”

Experts have argued that the bad blood between the two could affect the ministry’s operations.

Last month, Chinamasa summoned Gutu to his office and, according to sources who witnessed the incident, only fell short of slapping him in the face.

Chinamasa was reportedly angry that Gutu had attacked him in the media over a press statement he released that poured cold water on Mawere’s bid to reclaim his vast business empire, SMM Holdings.

Gutu distanced himself from the statement and said it did not represent the ministry’s position.

President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have also on numerous occasions clashed over the former’s lack of consultation when making key government decisions that have a direct bearing on the operations of the shaky government of national unity.

While President Mugabe’s arm of government accuses Tsvangirai’s corner as running parallel structures funded by those bent on regime change, the latter now sees aging leader as an impediment to implementing provisions of the unity pact by making unilateral decisions.

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