The year 2010 will not only go down in history as the year the Fifa World Cup soccer extravaganza came to African soil for the first time, but because many events saw Zimbabwe making international headlines.
It saw MDC-T treasurer-general and Deputy Agriculture minister-designate Roy Bennett brought before the High Court on treason charges and to Chipinge magistrates’ court for breaching the GMB Act when the state alleged he failed to declare
92 289 tonnes of maize to the authorities nine years ago.
Attorney-General’s Office chief law officer Chris Mutangadura was quoted as saying they would not pursue the GMB matter because there were no justifiable reasons why the matter was not heard back then in 2001 when the summons were issued.
Bennett was however charged and tried at the High Court on allegations of trying to topple President Robert Mugabe in an alleged attempted coup but was found not guilty and acquitted.
Centre for Research and Development executive director Farai Maguwu also made headlines when he was arrested on allegations of publishing or communicating falsehoods prejudicial to the state.
The state alleged Maguwu clandestinely passed restricted information on alleged diamond looting in Chiadzwa by top politicians in government to Kimberley Process monitor Abbey Chikane of South African.
Chikane, however, passed on the information to the state saying he did not approve of the way it was obtained, leading to Maguwu’s arrest.
But four months down the line, Maguwu was a free man after the charges against him were withdrawn following pressure from local, regional and international bodies.
Two Tanzanians and a South African national were arrested in Karoi after allegedly excreting cocaine capsules they had smuggled from Tanzania via Zambia enroute to South Africa.
Juma Ally Juma, Masumbuko Abdallah Munguni and Francis William appeared at Harare Magistrates’ Court facing charges of unlawfully dealing in dangerous drugs.
William is alleged to have gone to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in pursuit of employment and befriended one Hamuda who gave him 92 capsules of cocaine to transport to Johannesburg, South Africa.
William allegedly swallowed the capsules while in Tanzania and boarded a Zambia-bound bus on his way to South Africa.
Meanwhile, his colleagues Juma and Abdallah allegedly received 96 and 63 cocaine capsules respectively from a person identified as Mallik, a Tanzanian national, to transport to Johannesburg.
The trio boarded an Ingwe bus from Lusaka, Zambia and crossed Chirundu border into Zimbabwe without being detected.
While a few kilometres before Makuti, William developed stomach problems and visited the toilet on the bus and an unpleasant smell filled the bus, prompting the bus crew to investigate.
The bus crew discovered a small plastic tube in the toilet reservoir and suspected William was trafficking drugs. They handed him over to the police in Karoi for monitoring, where he is alleged to have excreted 92 capsules of cocaine.
Juma allegedly excreted 96 cocaine capsules at Karoi Police Station and was arrested and charged with drug trafficking.
Abdallah developed stomach complications and Karoi police took him to Chinhoyi Hospital where he was medically induced and allegedly excreted 63 cocaine capsules. He was also arrested and charged with drug trafficking.
The trio is still in remand prison awaiting trial.
While Maguwu was battling for his freedom from remand prison, Zanu PF apologist and former Warriors fitness trainer and farmer Temba Mliswa had a stint in remand prison after the state showered him with numerous allegations, ranging from assault, extortion, fraud to theft.
Mliswa appeared at the Karoi magistrates’ court charged with assaulting his employees whom he accused of stealing chemicals. He was convicted on seven counts of assault and fined $350.
On allegations of theft, Mliswa is alleged to have stolen six 60 KVA generators from farms around Karoi, which allegation he denied. He told the court his company, Saltlakes, entered into agreements of sale with the owners of the generators after their farms were acquired during the land reform programme by the government.
The Mliswa saga was soon to be watered down by the controversial “diesel n’anga” Rotina Mavhunga, aka Nomatter Tagarira, who three years ago made fools of President Robert Mugabe’s Cabinet when she made them believe she could conjure pure diesel from a rock and bring the country’s fuel problems to an end.
Mavhunga was jailed for 39-months by a Chinhoyi provincial magistrate Ignatius Mugova. Mugova blasted Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede for harbouring the fraudster when he knew the police were looking for her.
The magistrate said Mudede had an interest in the matter that saw ministers Didymus Mutasa (then National Security), Sydney Sekeramayi (Defence), Kembo Mohadi (Home Affairs) and former Mashonaland West governor Nelson Samkange remove their shoes, sit on the ground and clap hands in reverence as Mavhunga showed them “pure diesel” from the rocks.
While Mashonaland West offered such a hilarious story, a sombre atmosphere prevailed in Manicaland where a Mutare couple together with a friend was sentenced to death after High Court judge Felistas Chatukuta failed to come up with extenuating circumstances to save the trio from the hangman’s noose.
Tongai Zireni Mutengerere together with his wife Shylet Sibanda and a family friend, Darlington Nyaungwe, were sentenced to the gallows for murdering Daniel Sithole in cold blood last year.
The trio’s alleged accomplices Ngoni Masvaure and Shee Njanji escaped capital punishment after they were discharged at the close of the state case.
Mashonaland East province was not spared either as Chikwezvero Primary School headmaster appeared at Chivhu magistrates’ court on charges of raping four primary school pupils in Sadza.
The school head, Phillip Mhlanga Magaisa, who is also believed to be the chairperson of the War Collaborators’ Association of Mashonaland East Province, was released on $600 bail by the High Court.
Harare mayor Muchadeyi Masunda and eight MDC-T councillors who were being accused of criminally defaming businessman Phillip Chiyangwa had charges against them dropped after the businessman indicated he was no longer interested in pursuing the matter.
Apparently the decision by Chiyangwa to withdraw the charges was met with mixed reactions as some councillors vowed to continue with their battle against him while the mayor called for bygones to be bygones.
The judicial year’s chapter cannot be closed without mentioning the six alleged diamond fraudsters who are expected to be indicted to the High Court on January 4 next year.
Lovemore Kurotwi, the director of Core Mining and Mineral Resources , Dominic Mubaiwa, the chief executive officer of the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), John Tichaona Muhonde, the legal advisor and company secretary of ZMDC, Gloria Mawarire, ZMDC Acting Chairperson, Ashton Sibusiso Ndlovu, director of ZMDC and Mark Tsomondo, board member and member of the technical committee of ZMDC, were arrested on allegations of acting in common purpose to defraud ZMDC and government of over $10 million worth of diamonds.
The proceedings however, were not short of drama as Tsomondo burst into laughter after the magistrate addressed Godwills Masimirembwa as a senior lawyer who appreciated the court procedure.
Tsomondo’s laughter attracted the attention of the magistrate who took him to task over his behaviour.
When asked to explain himself he said he knew Masimirembwa as a lawyer who was struck off the practicing register so he had impulsively thought it was funny that he was being referred to as a senior and professional lawyer.
All six are out on bail and the director of Public Prosecutions Florence Ziyambi indicated the state was ready to proceed to trial against them when the High Court opens for the first term next year.
Besides the diamond saga, High Court judge Justice Yunus Omerjee called on the police to stop using firearms indiscriminately against suspected offenders.
He said this while issuing an order to the Officer-in-Charge Harare Remand Prison to take Boas Chiwanza to hospital after he appeared before him with protruding intestines secured in a plastic bag.
Chiwanza’s stomach was ripped open by bullets fired by a police officer after he allegedly tried to disarm the police detective during a raid at his residence in Nyabira where they intended to arrest him on allegations of theft.
Last month, High Court judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu ruled in favour of the state to have the trial of the alleged coup plotters start three years after the six men were arrested.
The six men, Albert Matapo, Nyasha Zivuka, Oncemore Mudzurahona, Shingirai Mutemachani, Patson Mupfure and Emmanuel Marara were arrested in May 2007 for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government of President Robert Mugabe.
The trial took time to commence after the state and defence made a series of court applications accusing each other of delaying the commencement of trial.
They are expected to file their appeal papers at the Supreme Court before the trial continues probably next year.
And to cap it all up, Standard editor Nevanji Madanhire and reporter Nqobani Ndlovu were arrested last month in connection with a story published in the newspaper stating that police had frozen internal promotions this year to accommodate war veterans.
The story alleged the ex-freedom fighters were being recruited to direct operations during polls slated for next year. Nqobani spent a week in Khami Remand Prison, Bulawayo, while Madanhire was detained overnight. Both are are out on bail.
Alpha Media Holdings Group Editor-in-Chief Vincent Kahiya and Zimbabwe Independent editor Constantine Chimakure were on several occasion brought before the court on routine remand hearing for a story published last year which named and shamed state security agents involved in the kidnapping and torture of human rights activists.
They were quoting court documents.