HARARE – Millionaire businessman Frank Buyanga says his son was “kidnapped” by his mother in front of police officers who were powerless to act because of a conspiracy involving President Emmerson Mnangagwa, his wife and children.
Buyanga is locked in a bitter custody battle with his ex-girlfriend Chantelle Muteswa over their five-year-old son. The children’s court gave Buyanga temporary custody after Muteswa was evicted from a property where she lived with her father.
In an urgent chamber application filed at the High Court this week, Buyanga seeks to compel the police commissioner to locate and return his son and also arrest Muteswa on an outstanding warrant for contempt of court.
Buyanga said his son was “brazenly kidnapped” on March 11 after Muteswa turned up at his school in the company of the Messenger of Court where they presented an invalid court order which they said allowed them to take him.
The dispute ended at Marlborough Police Station where Buyanga’s lawyers were called.
Buyanga said in an affidavit before the court: “My legal practitioners rushed to the police station with the court order which states that I should provide accommodation for the minor child. My lawyers and the mother of my child agreed that they should go to the office and talk about the issue of the court orders in question.
“Whilst everyone thought they were going for a roundtable conference, the mother got into her car and sped off with the child.”
Buyanga says the child has been “in hiding since then and has not been going to school.”
After filing two police reports, one at Highlands and one at Harare Central Police Station, Buyanga said he was still to be assigned an investigating officer.
Buyanga said he met an Inspector Mpofu at the Police General Headquarters on March 18 during which discussion he presented evidence that Muteswa was in contempt of court for failing to give him the child’s passport. A High Court ruling which found Muteswa in contempt also said the same ruling will serve as a warrant of arrest in the event of non-compliance.
Buyanga said he had vainly written to Police Commissioner-General Matanga and Deputy Commissioner General Mutamba.
“Since the disappearance of my son, I have had some of my Facebook and WhatsApp followers communicate to me that the reason that the police have showed laxity in investigating the matter and in effecting warrants of arrest is due to the interference of the first family of the Republic of Zimbabwe,” Buyanga charged.
Buyanga said whilst he had been reluctant to accept the accounts as true, the police reluctance to act to enforce his rights “makes me reluctantly see a pattern of corroboration too strong to ignore.”
In one such communication now before the court, an informer tells Buyanga on Facebook that “the Messenger of Court was told to cooperate or he would lose his job”.
“I know you reported some cases to the police but the police have been given clear instructions not to arrest anyone you are complaining against,” the informer said.
“They have also been told not to investigate or appoint investigating officers on any of your cases. They have told them that Frank Buyanga is an enemy of the state.”
The writer identifies Auxillia Mnangagwa, the first lady, as the axis of the together with her children Collins and Emmerson Junior.
“Collins is putting the pressure as he is dating Chantelle and promised her that he will make Frank lose at all cost,” the informant claimed.
In December last year, Buyanga’s informant claimed that Collins had attended the offices of an online newspaper in Harare in the company of former Miss Zimbabwe, Brita Masalethulini, and planted a fake story that he had gone on holiday with Mary Chiwenga while her husband, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, was hospitalised in China.
“They were trying to get the system to turn against you,” the informant added.
The informant claimed that Masalethulini has a child with the president’s nephew, Tongai Mnangagwa, and goes on to accuse the latter of making calls to members of the judiciary attempting to influence court rulings against Buyanga.
“There is a lot going on right now, so I want to warn you to leave the country if you are in Zimbabwe,” the informant concluded after also making claims that threats had been made that Buyanga would be killed.
Buyanga said he had been left frustrated by police inaction.
“The applicant stands exposed from not enjoying his constitutional rights and rights conferred by court orders in his favour, which is a result of 1st respondent’s conduct,” he argued.
“As it stands, the applicant is unaware of the whereabouts of his son, nor is he aware of his welfare. This has caused untold emotional turmoil on the applicant and has negatively impacted on his ability to work or travel outside of this jurisdiction.”
Last week, the High Court – in a landmark ruling – granted Buyanga joint custody of the child. A judge ruled that a common-law rule that gives the mother of a child born out of wedlock sole guardianship and sole custody of a minor child was unconstitutional.
The matter is yet to be set down for hearing.