Mutasa eyes presidency

HARARE – Controversial “Diesel N’anga” Rotina Mavhunga stunned the court during her trial last month when she claimed Zanu PF stalwart Didymus Mutasa withdrew a farm gift to her after she refused to assist him ascend to the presidency in 2007.

Mutasa, then Minister of State Security, also responsible for land reform and resettlement, accompanied Mavhunga to Manigwa Hills in Chinhoyi on several occasions for rituals purportedly meant to produce refined diesel from a rock.

Mavhunga and Mutasa were accompanied by ministers Sydney Sekeramayi, Kembo Mohadi, Mashonaland West governor Nelson Samkange and deputy police chief Godwin Matanga.

Mavhunga’s claims are contained in the full judgment delivered by Chinhoyi magistrate Ignatius Mugova after her trial.

The “Diesel N’anga” was found guilty of defrauding the government and supplying false information to senior government officials and sentenced to 39 months in jail.

In the judgment, a copy of is in the possession of NewsDay, the magistrate said: “Asked about the offer of a farm, she retorted that all those that were allocated farms had not discovered diesel and went further to say the ‘offer letter’ was withdrawn because the spirit medium had refused to assist Minister Mutasa to ascend to the presidency.”

Coincidentally, Mutasa, now a Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, made an bid for the vice-presidency during Zanu PF’s last congress, but lost to incumbent Vice-President John Nkomo.

It emerged during the trial that experts from the Chinhoyi University of Technology were called in to carry scientific tests to establish whether refined diesel indeed oozed from a rock at Manigwa Hills.

A team from the university’s Department of Megatronics was led by Solomon Chimedza.

The magistrate said Chimedza was not given an opportunity to see the source of the diesel because he was whisked away by one of Mavhunga’s aides.

Chimedza on two occasions travelled to Harare to meet President Robert Mugabe and his Cabinet to explain that the phenomenon was scientifically impossible, but his advice fell on stony ground leading to the dispatch of a high-powered delegation to Manigwa Hills.

The findings of the investigations were used to compile a report produced by Professor Mark F Zaranyika of the University of Zimbabwe’s Chemistry Department, entitled A Report on the Analysis of Oil Collected from Chinhoyi.

“The report says the sample was received from Tobaiwa Mudede (Registrar General) who Rotina Mavhunga said supplied some diesel that was taken uphill and put into containers as she ‘played games,’ to use her own phase,” magistrate Mugova said.

“The court respects the findings of the professor that the sample received from Mudede resembles diesel oil in composition.”

The magistrate said Mudede should have testified to that effect.

“This court cannot take it as common cause. From the evidence of Rotina Mavhunga, it is abundantly clear that Tobaiwa Mudede had an interest in the matter. Whether it was for the benefit of the nation or for himself, it’s unknown to this court,” he said.

“Further, the court noted something disturbing about his behaviour. As the police sought Rotina Mavhunga, Tobaiwa Mudede kept her in hiding and fed her.”

According to the judgment, Mavhunga approached governor Samkange with the news of the “diesel deposits”.

“Upon requesting to be shown the source of the diesel, he (Samkange) was taken up the hill to a cave at around 5pm when it was getting dark,” the magistrate said. “At the time visibility was poor and accused one (Mavhunga) produced diesel from a calabash. It was used in motor vehicles and they moved. Nelson Samkange reported to the Head of State about the claims of discovery diesel. This generated a lot of interest. It is common cause that at the time the country was dry. There was no diesel in the country.”

Samkange later withdrew his interest on instinct.

During trial, another expert, Clement Shonhiwa, acting chairman in the Department of Fuels and Energy at Chinhoyi University, testified that the liquid his team tested “was equivalent to the normal diesel used in the country”.

Shonhiwa was, however, unable to collect adequate samples for further tests because Mavhunga was unavailable.

Shonhiwa later obtained six litres of diesel as samples for ministers Amos Midzi, Olivia Muchena and Mike Nyambuya to test. “What is important to note, however, is that he (Shonhiwa) was not led to the source of the diesel but that accused (Mavhunga) sent someone to bring the diesel for this witness.

He refuted that the diesel that he examined was from Maningwa Hills, stating that for mined oil to be diesel it has to get additives for it to be pump diesel,” the magistrate said.

Another expert, Fadzanai Bornwell Mupaya, a geologist, also testified saying he was taken up the hill but “before reaching the source he was splashed with diesel and his worksuit got wet”.

After his investigations, Mupaya concluded there were no oil deposits, let alone diesel.

Asked in court whether other geologists might explain the phenomenon in another way, Mupaya said: “No geologist on earth will say there is diesel from such rocks.”-News Day