‘Coup plotters’ still in jail

HARARE - Six men charged with plotting a military overthrow of President Robert Mugabe and replace him with one of his ministers were further remanded in custody when they appeared in a Harare court last week, with the State requesting two more weeks to wrap up investigations.

Albert Matapo, a retired soldier who fled fraud allegations in the United Kingdom two years ago, is accused of leading the coup plot, which prosecutors say was to be executed on June 15.

It is also claimed that the plotters wanted Rural Housing Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa to become President, with Matapo declaring himself the new Prime Minister.

A Harare magistrate further remanded the men to November 7, when the State has said it will provide a trial date.

The defence counsel Charles Warara said the State was “prevaricating” and said he believed the State case was weak.

Lawrence Phiri, leading the prosecution team, alleges that Matapo together with his co-accused  conspired with his co-accused persons Nyasha Zivuka, Oncemore Mudzurahona, Shingirai Mutemachani, Patson Mupfure and Emmanuel Marara; wanted to recruit members of the security forces to mastermind the alleged coup. The alleged coup plot was allegedly foiled after the suspects were arrested at Wilrose Court along Nelson Mandela Avenue. They maintain they were planning to form a political party, the United Democratic Front, and their meeting had nothing to do with a coup.

The six have been languishing in remand prison since June.- Chief reporter

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