The two suspects fingered in connection with the June 23 White City Stadium bombo attack – Douglas Musekiwa and John Zulu – whose ages were not given – are living in perpetual fear and have been ostracised by the communities they live in.
The bomb blast, which authorities say was targeted at President Emmerson Mnangagwa, killed two security aides and left at least 47 other people seriously injured – including senior government officials.
Mnangagwa escaped injury when an explosive device was detonated as VIPs left the stage at White City Stadium.
The 75-year-old Zanu-PF strongman had just finished his address to thousands of party supporters who had packed the venue of his penultimate humiliation last year by former president Robert Mugabe and his then influential wife, Grace.
The explosive device, suspected to be a hand grenade – went off moments after Mnangagwa had just stepped off the stage – seriously injuring one of his deputies Kembo Mohadi and senior Cabinet minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, as well as a host of other people.
Both Mohadi and Muchinguri-Kashiri were later airlifted to South Africa for specialist treatment.
On Saturday June 30, there was frenzied media and public interest here as the two men were brought to court for the attempted assassination of Mnangagwa.
Southern News tracked down the suspects to their base in Old Pumula suburb to try and hear out their story.
This publication caught up with Zulu, a popular tout at the Old Pumula taxi rank. However, efforts to get hold of his other colleague Douglas, a taxi driver, were not successful.
One thing that could be easily noticed was that Zulu is now living in fear and is now being haunted by the “bomb”.
“We were released last Monday (July 2). The police said we should go home as they are still conducting further investigations and might summon us back if they find anything on us,” Zulu, who looked uneasy throughout the interview, told Southern News.
“We were picked up by police in plain clothes a week after the bombing incident. They found me here at the shops where I operate as a tout.
“They told me I was under arrest and they asked me where they could find my colleague, Douglas, and I took them to his place,” he said.
Zulu admitted that they were part of the Zanu-PF star rally at White City Stadium on June 23.
“On the day, we had nothing much to do so went to … the rally and we were seated in the front but as for that bomb thing we saw nothing.”
Asked how they became prime suspects in the matter, Zulu said:
“They (police) showed us a camera where we were captured at the rally and it was us in the pictures. So, they tracked us using those pictures until they found me at the shops because I am well-known here so it was easy for them to get me.”
During the incarceration, Zulu said they were only interrogated on the matter but “we were never at any point tortured or enforced to admit to the crime.”
But above all, the allegations over such a serious crime which could even attract a death sentence on conviction, has just left him shattered.
“This thing has destroyed my life, no one wants to employ me now as they see me as a criminal. All the people I used to work with are now distancing themselves from me. And you know how it is when people start fearing associating with you,” he narrated.
“The worst thing is that we are living in fear because the police told us not to talk about this matter and we now feel that wherever we are, we are being stalked.”
Midway in the interview, his relatives interrupted before they ordered the news crew to leave as they have been persecuted enough over the matter.
Mnangagwa has since blamed the attack on the vanquished Generation 40 (G40) faction of Zanu-PF – which was involved in a war of attrition with him in the deadly battle to succeed then president Robert Mugabe.
“I don’t know whether it was one individual – I would think it is broader than one person. I would think this is a political action by some aggrieved persons,” Mnangagwa told the BBC then.
Asked further whether he trusted Grace or not, he retorted: “On what basis would I trust someone who was used by a cabal to say things that had no basis?”
The annihilated G40 was, before the military intervention, locked in a bitter war with Mnangagwa and his supporters for the control of both Zanu-PF and the country.