7 February 2013

Zimbabwe: MDC-T Exiled Activist Tries to Exit the Country On Someone's Passport

A 29 year old exiled MDC -T activist has been arrested by police detectives for attempting to illegally cross into South Africa using a passport belonging to another person. Wellington Makumbinde who is a member of the party's youth committee for mobilisation and is resident in South Africa was intercepted at Beitbridge Border Post by alert detectives from the Border Control Unit on Tuesday morning. He was using a passport belonging to one Brian Tazviwana. The accused is reported to have illegally entered the country on unspecified MDC- T business on February 1.

Makumbinde once worked as an assistant in the office of MDC -T's late Secretary for Foreign Affairs Prof Elphas Mukonoweshuro between January 2005 and January 2009.

He is also the Programmes Coordinator for the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa and doubles as the Governance Programme Officer for Institute for Democracy in Africa (IDASA) in Cape Town.

It is also understood that IDASA is the party's think tank where MDC- T activists are attached to come up with elections strategies.Makubinde has since been dragged to court charged with contravening a section of the immigration act, where he was convicted on his own plea of guilty.

Beitbridge Resident Magistrate Miss Gloria Takundwa sentenced Makubinde to 12 months imprisonment which were wholly suspended for 5 years on condition he does not within the same period commit a similar offence. The accused told the court that he had used Tazviwona's passport because his had expired.

The passport in question has since been forfeited to state as part of the sentence. MDC T's Gandi Mudzingwa who is the Principal Director in the Prime Minister's office responsible for the Infrastructure Cluster and also Special Advisor on Security to the PM was also spotted around Beitbridge Magistrate Courts where Makumbinde was being tried.

The agreed facts are that on February 5, the accused arrived in Beitbridge en-route to South Africa. He then went to Beitbridge border post intending to exit the country to South Africa. Along the way he was stopped by some detectives from the Border Control Unit who were on patrol.

They then requested him to produce his travel documents and he in turn produced Tazviwona's passport leading to his subsequent arrest. Of late there has been an increase of people trying to leave or enter the country using stolen passports which has prompted the police to intensify patrols at the Border Post.

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