The high-profile case of slain MDC-T activist Moses Chokuda, which has been raging on since 2009 and had sucked in top Zanu PF politicians as well as Attorney-General Johannes Tomana, has now been set for hearing during the Gweru High Court circuit on September 12.
According to indictment papers, the suspects, who include Farai Machaya, (son of Zanu PF Midlands chairman and Resident minister Jason Machaya) and five others, have already been summoned to answer to a murder charge they allegedly committed on March 22, 2009.
Machaya (30), Abel Maposa (45), Edmore Gana (27), Bothwell Gana (25), Obert Gavi (23) and Tirivashoma Mawadze (25) stand accused of fatally beating up Chokuda over allegations he had broken into Machaya’s shop in Gokwe.
“. . . accused 1 (Machaya) teamed up with others and went to Isheunesu Sibanda’s homestead whom they suspected to have broken into their shop, after assaulting him, Sibanda implicated the deceased as an accomplice. After picking up Moses (Chokuda) with their vehicle, the accused persons assaulted him with open and booted feet,” reads part of the court papers.
An autopsy compiled by a Dr PT Venge shows Chokuda sustained fractures on his cervical spine, and had an extensively bruised and swollen face and a “very immobile neck in rigor mortis” (stiffening at death).
The State intends to call seven witnesses to testify against the suspects, who are all apparently related to top Zanu PF politicians in the Midlands province.
On April 26 this year, Tavengwa Chokuda, father of the deceased, wrote to the AG’s Office pleading with Tomana to ensure the matter was brought before the courts so the culprits could face justice.
“Your office is hereby reached to facilitate consequential judicial sanity into the murder case . . . I strongly believe they (fathers of accused persons) wield considerable and substantial power to block imminent justice thereto as evidenced by the burial delay and a wave of assault on my person and entire family,” he wrote.
Chokuda’s body has remained uncollected at Gokwe District Hospital mortuary since 2009, with family members refusing to take it for burial until the matter has been resolved in court.
Unconfirmed reports from mortuary attendants indicate the deceased has been “fighting his own battles from the realms of the dead to force the wheels of justice to move”.
His body is alleged to be still fresh and oozing blood, while some say Chokuda is sometimes seen milling around the hospital while carrying his own coffin.
The matter has turned political with Zanu PF insiders opposed to Machaya calling on him to step down as Midlands provincial governor and Zanu PF provincial chairperson.