Mugabe son-in-law case blow as State witness refuses to testify

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By Mary Taruvinga

ONE of the State witnesses against former President Robert Mugabe’s son in-in-law, Simbarashe Chikore, on charges of unlawful detention, has written to the prosecutors declining to testify against the later.

Philipa Philips, a Harare lawyer, said she cannot testify against Chikore since they have a professional relationship.

She said by testifying against Chikore she would be in breach of legal ethics.

“We have a lawyer client-relationship so I can’t testify against him, “she said.

This resulted in the case being postponed to March 8 for trial continuation.

Prosecutors had made the lawyer a witness since she was allegedly called to the scene by the complainant Betha Tsitsi Zakeyo on the day in question.

Zakeyo was a Zimbabwe Airways secretary at the time she was allegedly detained illegally.

Meanwhile, presiding magistrate, Victoria Mashamba, warned the State that it risks losing the case if it fails to bring another witness next time.

“The state should put its house in order. If a witness who is lined up to testify fails to come, he/she will be issued with an arrest warrant.

“All witnesses should be subpoenaed on time because this has to be finalised,” said the magistrate.

Chikore is accused of unlawfully detaining Zakeyo at the company premises in Chishawasha Hills some time last year when he had taken a decision to terminate her employment.

He is being tried together with company security guard Simbarashe Mutimbe.

Chikore is denying the allegations saying they were fabricated.

Zakeyo insists that she was detained for two hours and could not get assistance since all employees at the company feared Chikore.