Pomona gun thief pleads allegiance to Zim

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Former Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) officer, Chenjerai Gwirizha, who was convicted of theft of 20 AK-47 assault rifles and ammunition that were stolen at Pomona Barracks two years ago, last Friday declared allegiance to Zimbabwe.

Gwirizha said during mitigation before sentence that he served as a soldier for five months without pay — earning just R5 a month between 2007 and 2008.

Gwirizha, an ex-corporal in the ZNA, declined to offer detailed mitigation but told regional magistrate Morgan Nemadire that he contributed immensely to ZNA and his efforts were recognised by Sadc at large.

“I won the Sadc campaign medal and served for five months without pay when I was earning 5 Rand per month. That shows I care for the nation,” Gwirizha told the court.

Gwirizha is jointly charged with Marxist Mwaruta who is also a ZNA ex-member.

The two will be sentenced on Thursday.

The Pomona firearms heist was reported by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) intelligence wing after Gwirizha had approached the head of MDC-T intelligence security wing, Ray Gwezere, with an offer to sell arms of war.

In his judgment, regional magistrate Morgan Nemadire said the evidence against Gwirizha and Mwaruta was overwhelming and their defences were not credible.

Prosecutor Michael Reza urged the magistrate to consider a lengthy custodial sentence of up to 25 years each.

The court heard that after stealing the weapons Gwirizha and Mwaruta initially intended to sell them to armed robbers and poachers but for reasons not disclosed in court, decided to approach the MDC-T instead and offer the guns and ammunitions for sale to them.