New Twist in Rusape Corruption Scandal
…vigilante group linked to ZANU PF allegedly protecting suspended Town Secretary
Whistleblowers have exposed a plot to shield suspended Rusape Town Council secretary Solomon Gabaza from prosecution, fronted by a vigilante group linked to the ruling Zanu PF party.
Sources have released video footage implicating, the ‘A Team, a ZANU PF linked vigilante group accused of actively disturbing council disciplinary meetings to decide the fate of the suspended Gabaza.
Inside sources have also revealed that council employees, seconded by the Minister of Local Government July Moyo, to verify the validity of charges laid against Gabaza are now living in fear.
Sources say after the council recommended Gabaza’s arrest by the Zimbabwe Republic Police there are now machinations from beneficiaries of the Town Secretary’s shenanigans to shield him from prosecution.
Inside sources say a group led by a Delta Mandibaya is being sponsored to disrupt council committee meetings as they verify the validity of a slew of serious misconduct allegations regarding Gabaza’s performance.
In videos, leaked by a well-placed sources, an irate adult male dressed in a white shirt and red trousers identified as Mandibaya is seen at Mugodo Lodge, being restrained from attacking a council security detail.
It is alleged that these disturbances were only fronted by Mandibaya but instigated by prominent persons to serve as a warning to the council employees.
Local government officials in Makoni district are also implicated in the plot, which has led to some council employees considering recusing themselves from investigations in fear for their lives, said the source.
“There is wide spread fear at Rusape Town Council over the issue of Gabaza because he won’t go down quietly. There are powerful people who were benefiting through him and they know that eventually the trial leads back at them.
“This group is afraid that they will be exposed and they have engaged the A Team to disrupt any council activity and threaten council workers, so that they shield Gabaza from prosecution,” said the source.
“We can’t do our work properly and some of us we are thinking of recusing ourselves because of the way Gabaza is being protected. We are now living in fear.”
The sources also states that a gang member of the A Team identified as Fungai Antonio, has unwittingly made a self-confession in a video, exposing his involvement in the plot to protect Gabaza.
In a video shared with 236chat, Antonio appeals to unnamed persons for assistance to repair his broken phone, as compensation for involvement in unstated work- sources say it was disrupting committee meetings at Mugodo Lodge.
Antonio narrates that his desperation for assistance to repair his phone, emanates from pressure by his wife, and he names Gabaza and a man only identified as Chimuse, as having sent him to do their work.
Antonio’s unwitting expose, shows how the vigilante gang is a key part of the ploy engineered with involvement of high ranking officials in the ruling party fold.
In the video Antonio, speaking in vernacular, pleads to his paymasters to assist him repair his phone, which allegedly broke while doing the bidding of Gabaza and Chimuse and other unnamed security officials.
He also appeal to the President’s Office, an unofficial designation for the dreaded Central Intelligence Office (CIO), which has gained infamy for political bias towards Zanu PF party- and accused of persecuting political opponents.
“Ko inini phone yangu yapwanyika iyi mandituma basa renyu.
“Mhuri yangu kumba handichagari kumba, mukadzi arikuchema kuti phone wakaisa kupi, nenyaya yebasa renyu ramakandituma,
“(What about my phone that broke whilst I was doing your bidding? I have no peace with my family, my wife is complaining over this phone, all because of the work that you sent me to do),” says Antonio.
Persecution is a familiar tactic to Antonio. He is no stranger to controversy, violence or coercion.
Antonio is infamous locally, having gained notoriety for his brutality while serving a vigilante political gang with a bloody history of terrorizing political opponents in Rusape.
The gang was virtually untouchable at its peak. It operated with impunity and reported directly to Dydmus Mutasa, a former State Security minister and one time godfather of Manicaland province, in Zanu PF circles.
“The A team was a dangerous gang. They terrorized, maimed and killed opposition supporters in Rusape. They were untouchable and could allocate musika (vending site) and collect rental. Nobody would dare question them,” according to a source, who requested anonymity.
“Please cover the story we want to expose corruption in Rusape which involves some government officials. Their meetings were disturbed, evidence is there in the videos.
“They are doing it all in the name of protecting the suspended town secretary. The minister of Local Government July Moyo is silent on this though he sent his committee to investigate. His committee is more on the validity of the charges.
“Rusape Chairperson sent the Town Secretary, Gabaza, on forced leave on 11 May and since then they are receiving threats from suspected members of the security forces who are protecting Gabaza.
“They don’t want the councilors to fire the corrupt official because he was partner in looting, and that A Team is getting instructions from people within the ruling party,” said the source.
A three member team was appointed by the Minster of Local Government, July Moyo to verify findings of an investigation carried out from 22 May 2020 to 19 June 2020, which recommends disciplinary action and arrest.
The investigation unearthed administrative malpractices, nepotism, theft of council resources and fraudulent activities by the Town Secretary, who was subsequently sent on forced leave on 11 May.
The report also recommends a probe by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission and a forensic audit to dig into the housing, treasury and engineering departments as there are suspicions that Gabaza was involved in murky deals there.
The Investigation Committee found out, “that most of the allegations levelled against the Town Secretary and deficiencies noted above are credible and is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to charge him with serious acts of misconducts.
“The investigation Committee therefore recommends that the Town Secretary should be brought before the Disciplinary hearing to account for conduct which is inconsistent with the discharge of his duties and the Committee recommends that a report be made to the Police and ZACC for all the Criminal Charges,” reads part of a confidential report.
To reach these recommendations, the Committee perused Council Resolutions, budgets, minutes of Council meetings, personnel files, vehicle logbooks, fuel request forms and issue books, and payment vouchers.
It also assessed stand files, layout plans, internal memos and reports, ministerial circulars and directives, various Council policies and standing operation procedures, Acts of Parliament and other relevant documents.
Now with the involvement of Antonio, Mandibaya and their vigilante crew disturbing the operations of council internal disciplinary processes, there are fears that Gabaza could escape scot free, and prejudice Rusape Town Council millions of dollars.