Shielded for 7 years, army chief’s wife to stand trial for murder

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Then Brigadier Francis Mutisi (centre) and Zimbabwe National Army commander Lt Gen Phillip Valerio Sibanda seen with President Mnangagwa, then defence minister, in Beatrice in 2013

Divorce … Then Brigadier Francis Mutisi (centre) and Zimbabwe National Army commander Lt Gen Phillip Valerio Sibanda seen with President Mnangagwa, then defence minister, in Beatrice in 2013

HARARE – The wife of a brigadier general who was a suspect in the 2012 murder of her nephew is only being prosecuted seven years later – coincidentally as her husband has filed for divorce.

Cleopatra Shingirirai Mutisi, 49, a former Zimbabwe Consolidated Mining Company (ZCDC) executive, was shielded from the charges by her powerful husband, Brigadier General Francis Mutisi.

On Wednesday, a court heard of her role in the death of her 13-year-old nephew, Tafara Matanhire, who she allegedly accused of stealing US$70 meant for workmen repairing a borehole at their home on Dickson Drive in Borrowdale.

Cleopatra has been indicted at the High Court alongside two soldiers, Tafara Frank Gusha and Tafadzwa Shayanewako.

Gusha and Shayanewako, the court heard, were guarding the Mutisi home when the army chief’s wife enlisted their services in assaulting and torturing the boy over two days until she died.

Tafara endured solitary confinement without food, water and ablution facilities, say prosecutors.

The boy also had cold water poured over him, even as his health started deteriorating.

The prosecution alleges that Cleopatra took her nephew to Hatcliffe Police Station claiming he had stolen money to be used to pay workmen on a date in November 2012.

While at the police station, prosecutors allege, she instructed a police officer only identified as Banda to assault Tafara, but he refused to carry out the instruction.

She allegedly returned home and locked the boy in a room for two days without food or water before ordering Gusha and Shayanewako to assault him and recover the money.

The two soldiers took Matanhire to the cottage where they assaulted him overnight using hosepipes.

Cleopatra allegedly joined them in the assault the following morning.

Upon realising the boy’s health had deteriorated, Mutisi went to her rural home in Maramba where she told her brother that his son had been attacked by unknown assailants.

The court heard the boy died before she even reached her rural home.

To cover up the murder, the trio had already filed a false police report, the prosecution alleges.

A post-mortem revealed Tafara died from severe head injuries and subdural haemorrhage (collection of blood outside the brain).

The trio’s trial is expected to get underway in the new year at the Harare High Court.

Meanwhile, Brigadier General Mutisi has filed for divorce.

Th brigadier also accused her of infidelity.

“The respondent has denied him his conjugal rights, which unfair since she is getting it somewhere,” his lawyers say.

Cleopatra is defending the divorce filing, and instead accuses him of being promiscuous, alleging she has seven children with six different women outside wedlock.

The case is pending. Zimlive

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