New Zimbabwe.com

Would-be Mnangagwa assassin jailed for 16 years

By Mary Taruvinga

A MAN who masqueraded as a Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) informer has been sentenced to 16 years in jail for taking a loaded gun to events officiated by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Guthrie Chirodzero was convicted on five criminal offences including unlawful possession of a firearm, impersonation, forgery, driving without a licence and possession of articles for criminal use.

As the sentence was handed down, the accused’s wife who had been at the court sessions during the trial could be heard sobbing at the back of the gallery.

Chirodzero will however, serve an effective 12 and a half years behind bars after part of the sentence was conditionally set aside.

Prosecuting, Michael Reza argued that Chorodzero wanted to kill Mnangagwa.

“He wanted to play God. The bible says in Daniel 2 verse 21, ‘He removes the king and he sets up kings. He (Chirodzero) wanted to remove a person (Mnangagwa) put in place by God,” said prosecutor.

“The accused has not told anyone why he was a few meters away from the president while carrying a loaded weapon. The state can only speculate.”

“Yes, first offenders should not be incarcerated but the accused is not an ordinary first offender. He started at the deep end of crime,” said the prosecutor in aggravation.

In passing sentence, Harare magistrate Yeukai Chigodora said a custodial sentence was befitting considering the nature of the offences.

“In assessing sentence, I considered the fact that the accused is a first offender, but he is however facing serious charges,” she said.

“His motive for carrying a loaded gun to public events officiated by the President remains a mystery and his mitigation has been outweighed by state’s aggravation.

“The court has found the accused guilty on all counts and the offences are interlinked, showing a calculated intention to use fake documents for criminal purposes targeting high profile people.”

According to the State, Chirodzero last year attended the swearing in of new cabinet ministers by Mnangagwa and positioned himself close to the President while pretending to be a CIO agent.

On December 6, Chirodzero went to Josiah Magamba Tongogara army barracks armed with the fake ID cards and a pistol.

Mnangagwa was officiating at the renaming of the former KGVI facility and Chirodzero again positioned himself close to the President but was spotted by an army intelligence officer who became suspicious and confronted him.

Upon being asked to explain his purpose at the event, Chirodzero produced what he claimed to be a CIO identity card.

The military officer took the card to other CIO officers for verification and it was established the document was fake.

Sensing danger, Chirodzero vanished from the scene. He was later apprehended and arrested.