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Zimbabwean trucker rots in Zambian jail

by Temba Dube
30 Jul 2014 at 08:26hrs | Views
A ZIMBABWEAN truck driver who says he was falsely accused of armed robbery has for the past seven months been languishing at Livingstone State Prison in Zambia with prosecutors allegedly demanding a $2,000 bribe to set him free.

Family man and father of three, Qhubekani Dube, 44, of Pumula East suburb was arrested on January 12 charged with robbing Inter Africa Bureau De Change in Kazungula of $17,000 on December 31 last year.

His case has been set for trial at least four times but has failed to take off after the prosecutor, the robbery victim or both, failed to show up in court.

Hermis Transport Congo, the company he works for, sent evidence to Zambian authorities, collaborated by about 40 other truckers, to show that Dube was in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) at the time the crime was committed but the courts have seemingly ignored it.

Copies of pages from his passport also show he was in the DRC on December 31.

His children have since stopped going to school because they have no one to pay their fees.

Dube has written letters from prison to organisations that include various media houses in Zambia, international human rights organisations, embassies in both countries, Cross Border Truckers Association, stating his case and appealing for assistance.

Dube's mother, Gogo Lucy Dube, 73, shed tears as she narrated her son's ordeal to Chronicle.

"As you can see from the letters, he left Zambia for DRC on 12 December and was arrested on 12 January when he eventually returned. The Zambian police have all the evidence to show he is innocent but they don't want to release him," said Gogo Dube.

She said the family could not meet the demands for $2,000 or K10,000 from the prosecutor (name withheld).

"No one has that money. The children aren't going to school. We have no money to travel to Zambia every time they say the trial is on. We can hardly feed ourselves. I don't know which office I can approach to secure freedom for my innocent son," she said.

In a letter addressed to the Ministry of Home Affairs in Zimbabwe, Dube said he was innocent but was being held to ransom by unscrupulous court officials.

"Honourable Minister, when all this happened I was not in Zambia. I was in another country at work. My company has been writing letters and have provided the Zambian police with proof that I was indeed in Congo when all this happened," wrote Dube.

"The company has even engaged a lawyer for me but the lawyer has been working on behalf of the public prosecutor demanding K10,000 from my wife in Zimbabwe so that they can dispose of the case when they know I am innocent."

Fellow truckers who were with Dube in DRC when the crime was committed, said their friend was literally "rotting" in prison.

"They don't give them food. He relies on handouts from truck drivers who pass through Livingstone to feed him. Sometimes he goes for days without food when there is no truck traffic into Zambia," said a driver.

Gift Murapa, the managing director of Crystal Clearing Company in Victoria Falls, said what was happening to Dube was serious injustice.

"I think these people just want to wear him down by keeping him in prison until he pays. Mambo Moyo, a truck driver who had been with him in the DRC when the crime was committed in Zambia, tried to back Qhubekani's story but the police arrested him under unclear circumstances. He was released after a number of days," said Murapa.

He said witnesses were getting frustrated with having to travel to Zambia for a trial that never kicks off.

One of Dube's employers in the DRC, Tapiwa Maphosa, is on record vouching for his innocence.

The Zimbabwean embassy in Zambia has not responded to questions sent to them last week Friday.

Source - chronicle