20 December 2017

Mozambique: Valentina Guebuza Murder Trial - Second Day

Maputo — A key witness who testified on Tuesday before the Maputo City Court declared that Zofimo Muiuane, husband of Valentina Guebuza, daughter of former Mozambican President Armando Guebuza, had admitted to killing his wife shortly after the fatal shots were fired on 14 December 2016.

Muiuane, who is facing charges of first degree murder, illegal possession of firearms and falsification of documents, had initially confessed to the murder - but in his testimony on Monday he changed his story, and claimed that Valentina had accidentally shot herself in a hand to hand struggle between the couple.

Valentina's aide-de-camp, a police officer named Raquel Joao, said that she had heard “a different scream” from the first floor bedroom. When she rushed upstairs to see what had happened “I saw Valentina Guebuza stretched out on the floor, her eyes open, and her arms held out as if pleading for help. Zofimo was standing beside her, with the gun on the floor. I picked up the gun and put it in my belt”. She noted thatValentina was still breathing.

When she asked Muiuane what had happened, he replied “I did it, I did it, I did it. She offended me in front of the godparents”. (He was referring to a tense meeting held earlier in the evening between the couple and the godparents of their wedding, Frelimo veteran Feliciano Gundana, Presbyterian pastor Amos Zitha, and their wives).

Asked what then happened to the pistol, Joao said that Muiuane grabbed it back from her. She then hurried to the home of Valentina's parents, a few minutes walk way, to report what had occurred.

Valentina's babysitter, Reina Mucavel, corrobrated Raquel Joao's story. “When Raquel went upstairs to find out what had happened, I followed her”, she said. “When I arrived, I found my employer, Valentina, lying on the floor and Zofimo telling Raquel to hand over the gun”.

Valentina's brother, Mussumbuluko Guebuza, told the court that the marriage between Valentina and Muiuane had been in difficulties, contradicting Muiuane's Monday claim that everything was fine between the couple until mid-December 2016.

Mussumbuluko said his sister had informed him that Muiuane had prevented her from making a visit to South Africa, where she had a doctor's appointment. He believed that the real purpose of the visit was not medical, but was to meet with another man. Valentina told Mussumbuluko that her husband had taken her passport, her identity card, and her cell phones, thus preventing her from travelling.

Mussumbulogo said Muiuane had “two faces”. The one he showed the outside world, when he was in the former President's house, for example, was calm and quiet, as if he was an exemplary son-in-law. But when he was at home, alone with his wife, he turned violent.

Two security guards stationed at Armando Guebuza's house, Manuel Mahesse and Helder Cossa, said that, on Guebuza's orders, they went to Valentina's house to take the former President's daughter and grand-daughter to safety. But when they arrived, they found Valentina in a critical condition, and so took her to hospital instead, where she was declared dead on arrival.


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