Driver who stole Zimbabwe president’s phone to work 315 hours unpaid

Mohammed Awal March 27, 2020
He dragged his driver to court for stealing his $100 cellphone: Image credit: ZimLive

A magistrate court in Harare has spared Chamunorwa Tapa jail term and committed him to 315 hours of unpaid work for stealing a cellphone belonging to Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Tapa, 45, appeared before the court facing theft charges. He was arrested on March 23 whilst at State House.

Mnangagwa received the Itel A 56 cellphone as a gift after presiding over a field day at his farm in a Zimbabwean town of Kwekwe on March 12, prosecutors told the court. 

However, the gadget which is valued at $100 was detected missing following reconciliation of the gifts Mnangagwa received during his visit to the farm by his security detail. Tapa confessed to stealing the cellphone and subsequently gave it to his son.

Tapa was initially sentenced to 14 months in jail following his admission to the act by magistrate Joy Chikodzore, a local news portal Zimeye reports. Upon pleas for leniency, Chikodzore set aside five months of the jail term “on condition that he does not commit similar offense within the next five years.”

The remaining nine months, Zimeye further reports were put aside on condition that Tapa performs 315 hours of unpaid work at a Police Station in the capital.

An employee of the office of the president, named Simbarashe Mangezi, New Zimbabwe reports was the complainant in the case on behalf of President Mnangagwa.

The complaint filed in court read in parts: “On March 13 and at Zimbabwe House, in Harare during reconciliation of the gifts, it was discovered that the cell phone together with its charger and earphones was missing leading to an investigation.

“The accused then led police detectives to the recovery of the stolen cell phone from his son Jonathan Magaya at house number 52 Dumukwa Street, New Mabvuku, Harare.”

Prosecutors recommended that Tapa be sentenced 12 months with half of the term set aside on condition of good behavior, Zimeye reports.

Who’s Mnangagwa?

Mnangagwa was sworn in as president of Zimbabwe in November 2017. Before Mugabe resigned, his ruling party ZANU-PF had already replaced him with the embattled VP Mnangagwa as its president. Mnangagwa returned from exile and sworn in as the new President of Zimbabwe.

Mnangagwa commonly referred to as the “Crocodile” for his callousness during the Rhodesian Bush War against the British colonial government, has been a longtime ally of Mugabe, serving as the first vice-president of Zimbabwe since 2014. He has also served in numerous ministerial dockets, including Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Defense, Rural Housing and Social Amenities, among others.

At the age of 21, Mnangagwa was imprisoned by the colonial government for 10 years after he confessed to blowing up the Fort Victoria railway locomotive.

Upon his release and after spending a few years practicing law in Zambia, he migrated to neighboring Mozambique, where he, alongside Robert Mugabe, participated in the Mozambican War of Independence against the Portuguese administration.

Mnangagwa was part of the team that formed the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), which went on to win independence for Zimbabwe in 1980. He was also part of the team that negotiated with Britain for independence.

Last Edited by:Kent Mensah Updated: March 27, 2020


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