By Nomalanga Moyo
SW Radio Africa
14 May 2014
Ex-central bank employee Munyaradzi Kereke is set to face court over rape claims, after the High Court ordered the National Prosecuting Authority to clear the way for the trial to begin.
The Kereke case has been in the news since 2010, when allegations that he had raped his 11-year-old niece at gunpoint first became public.
Kereke, a former aide to ex-Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono with whom he has had a very public falling out, denies the claims and says it’s all part of plot by his former boss to discredit him.
Lawyer Charles Warara said the girl’s family approached the High Court after the Attorney-General’s Office declined to prosecute Kereke, citing lack of evidence.
However, the family and human rights campaigners say there is enough incriminating evidence for Kereke to be successfully prosecuted.
On Wednesday Justice Happias Ndou ruled in favour of the family and ordered Prosecutor-General Johannes Tomana to issue a certificate for a ‘private prosecution’.
The certificate paves the way for a wronged party to approach the court seeking justice in a criminal matter on their own behalf.
This means the girl’s guardian, Francis Maramwidze, can initiate criminal proceedings against Kereke, where it would ordinarily be the public prosecutor doing so.
The family’s lawyer said they were relieved that the High Court had issued this order saying they had encountered a lot of delays and resistance from the police and Tomana’s office.
“Of the several letters we wrote to the Attorney-General and then the Prosecutor-General, we only got one response. Initially we were trying to establish what was holding up the case but the lack of response and prosecution then forced my client to go to court.
“We do not understand why the prosecuting authority would fail to institute proceedings, despite the fact that the papers and evidence we submitted to them was strong enough to raise a case,” Warara told SW Radio Africa Wednesday.
He said the family was looking forward to obtaining the certificate from Tomana as soon as possible so that they can approach the court for a trial date.
In a 2010 interview with SW Radio Africa, activist Betty Makoni of the Girl Child Network, said her group had documents that would be sufficient for Kereke’s arrest, but that the police had failed to do so because of his political links.
Makoni lamented the Zim criminal justice system which allowed many high profile individuals to escape prosecution.
A top ZANU PF official, who is also the legislator for Bikita West, Kereke is linked to Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa’s faction in the ruling party, which is understood to have been protecting him.
However his spat with Gono, who is President Robert Mugabe’s blue-eyed boy and also belongs to the Joice Mujuru faction, appears to have forced even his backers in the party to ditch him.
During a politburo meeting in October last year, Mujuru successfully lobbied Mugabe and the party’s top decision-making body to resolve that Kereke should face court over the rape claim.