12 June 2018
THE lawyer representing Saviour Kasukuwere on charges of border jumping yesterday said the former cabinet minister escaped in accordance with the law.
Jonathan Samkange said Kasukuwere, who pleaded not guilty before Harare magistrate Josephine Sande, sought refuge in neighbouring Mozambique.
“He escaped and sought refuge in Mozambique, this is provided for in Section 24 subsection 3 of the Refuge Act which states that the meaning of refugee owes to external aggression, occupation, foreign administration or events sensibly affecting public order-this is subjective and the happenings of November 2017 compelled Kasukuwere to seek refuge and as soon as he entered Mozambique he was a refugee.
“The army said they were targeting the criminals surrounding ex-president Mugabe and one of the criminals is the accused person Kasukuwere,” said Samkange.
Samkange said it was an assumption that his client had left the country illegally because he had used one of his two passports.
“Furthermore, it is an assumption that he left the country illegally because he is entailed to the green and red diplomatic passport and he was using them interchangeably, the immigration officers did not ask to see the passport, also, he was not in control at the immigration points, so the officers may have made a mistake to not stamp his passport,” said Samkange.
In his defence outline, Kasukuwere denied the charges saying he had always been a resident at his house until November 15 when his house in Borrowdale was attacked using rifles which was clear to him that they were not robbers, but people who were targeting his life so he left the country and sought refuge which is an exemption in the Immigration Act.
The State opened its case by calling its only witness Godfrey Kondo, who is a principal immigration officer for the past 24 years.
He stated that Kasukuwere was in court for contravening the Immigration Act.
“The Law and Order police presented Kasukuwere diplomatic passport to me to analyse on the 30th of May, in particular reference to Zimbabwe immigration endorsements, and I observed that the records show that the accused person travelled on the 29th of October and returned on the 3rd of October through the Robert Mugabe Airport.
“When he entered the country on May 22, there is no corresponding endorsement to show that he was authorised to leave Zimbabwe,” said Kondo.
Kondo also produced a Zimbabwean diplomatic passport belonging to Kasukuwere as an exhibit that he alleged showed that he did not follow normal procedures.
In cross examination through his lawyer, Kasukuwere asked whether Kondo was in the country on November 15 and whether he witnessed that there was a military takeover “targeting the criminals surrounding the then president Mugabe.”
Upon the close of the State case, Samkange made an application for discharge on the basis that the State failed to establish the evidence that is incriminating because it called one witness whose evidence was not corroborated by other witnesses or even documents.
“Kondo turned in misleading evidence, withholding evidence he knew would be favourable to the accused person – one doesn’t need to be a lawyer to confirm that there were public disturbances in November last year and the court can take judicial notice,” said Samkange.
The State led by Fransisca Mukumbiri dismissed the application arguing that the State had proved beyond reasonable doubt that he committed the offense by proving the essential elements that he had a valid passport at the same time and he was a tourist and not a refugee in the countries he visited.
The matter continues today.