FORMER Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere was yesterday acquitted on charges of illegally exiting the country and seeking refuge in Mozambique at the height of the military’s Operation Restore Legacy, last November.
Harare magistrate Josephine Sande dismissed the matter, saying the defence had sufficiently proven that Kasukuwere’s life was at risk, hence his decision to flee the country.
“It is not in dispute that an operation was launched against criminals that worked around (former President Robert) Mugabe. Soon after the announcement, the accused’s home was attacked, and as such, he was convinced that he was one of the targeted people and had to run for his dear life,” Sande ruled.
She dismissed the State’s suggestions that the people who attacked Kasukuwere’s house on November 14 could have been armed robbers.
“It is of no logical sense that the attackers could be robbers. The attack was not only inside his house, but also outside. The gate, security wall, transformers and electric cables were damaged during the attack. How can robbers attack transformers and precast wall when they want to steal valuables inside the house? It would be a lame submission. How does a robber tamper with electric cables in a heist?” Sande asked.
She said despite the accused person failing to identify the attackers, it was the court’s duty to take a judicial notice since court officials were aware of the events of November 14 and 15 last year.
“The court does not live in a vacuum and its duty is to preserve moral lawfulness in the society. The court can also take a judicial notice that on this day, Operation Restore Legacy took place, and, as such, will not back State averments that there was public order. The fact that he didn’t expose who was his attacker falls away when one looks at what the court witnessed at Kasukuwere’s home,” Sande ruled.
Sande further said Kasukuwere’s lawyer, Jonathan Samkange proved beyond doubt that his client’s life was threatened and he had done a noble idea to seek refuge in the neighbouring country.
The magistrate said on that reason she found Kasukuwere not guilty and acquitted. Francisca Muumbiri appeared for the State.