Biti bomb blast suspect – police

HARARE – Police are questioning the 17 hour delay it took for Finance Minister Tendai Biti to report the "bombing" of his perimeter wall at his Chisipite house in Harare Sunday morning.

Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena told The Mail Monday that while investigations into the explosion had begun in earnest, there were some intriguing issues surrounding the blast that went off outside the minister’s home in the early hours of Sunday morning.

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“We are currently carrying out some investigations that are presently in the preliminary stages, but what we have discovered is that there are some intriguing and surprising issues that arise on the matter,” Snr Ass Comm Bvudzijena said.

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“The first issue is that the purported bombing occurred at around 1am in the morning of Sunday but it took Biti 17 hours to report the case to us. The matter was reported to us at around six in the evening.

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The bombing raised alarm within the neighbourhood; that is people who live in and around the place and even among government ministers.
“I do not think reporting the case 17 hours after it occurred was a quick decision,” Snr Ass Comm Bvudzijena said.

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The police spokesperson said what was even more worrying was that some MDC-T ministers passed through the place on the morning of the bombing, but no report was even made.

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ICT minister Nelson Chamisa reportedly went to Biti’s home to see for himself what had happened. But all the same no report was made in time.

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“Another cause for concern to us is that the matter was only reported by the minister’s gardener later during the day but our investigations have revealed that some MDC-T ministers visited the place but never bothered to make a report to us as police,” Bvudzijena said.

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“We are however making some investigations which are at early stage so l cannot comment further until we complete them.”

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Zanu PF national spokesperson Rugare Gumbo dismissed the bomb claim as a hoax.

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“We know this (blast claim) is aimed at appeasing some people in the region. The bombing was stage-managed to cover up the MDC’s murder of Inspector Mutedza. As a party, we shall not be forced into this waste of time antic by the MDC-T party. We have serious things to do,” said Gumbo.

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The unexplained explosion ripped Biti’s perimeter wall in the early morning of Sunday, uprooting his flower garden and almost collapsing the security wall at his Powland Way home in Chisipite.

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The minister was out of town together with his wife and children.

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Reached for comment why it took 17 hours to bring the matter to the attention of the police, MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said: “Whether Bvudzijena and his colleagues learnt of the bombing 17 hours after the incident or not, does not remove the fact that that there was a bombing. Biti is entitled to a 24-hour armed police protection by virtue of him being a cabinet minister.

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“The armed police have a good guard room that they stay in at the house but on the day in question, they were not there. This shows there was no police protection for the minister and we are naturally and personally shocked by the absence of police security on that day.”

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He added: “The truth of the matter is that whoever carried out the bombing knew that police security guards were not around.”

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Mwonzora claimed that police were fully aware of the bombing by Sunday morning.

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“The police knew of the bombing as early as Sunday morning but they did not respond with the necessary speed. They only attended to the scene today (Monday) in the morning together with members of the ZNA (Zimbabwe National Army).

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The comments by the police are most unfortunate as they are tantamount to prejudging the case. We call the police to make thorough, professional and non-partisan investigations and we also call upon international investigations into this matter,” he said. – The Mail