PERMANENT secretary in the ministry of Mines and Mining Development, Pfungwa Kunaka, is under fire for allegedly assaulting his mistress and stepdaughter at his government offices, amid allegations he has over the years used his position as a senior official to get away with similar abuses.
Information gathered by The NewsHawks shows that Rumbidzai Matinyenya (pictured with injuries) has reported the physical abuse numerous times over the years at Harare Central Police Station before being cajoled to drop charges.
She has however refused to drop charges for an attack which occurred at the ministry’s offices in the central business district on 20 February.
Kunaka also allegedly attacked his 14-year-old stepdaughter while guards watched.
The matter was reported at Harare Central Police Station and a docket was opened under CR 951/02/23 in relation to his mistress while the stepdaughter’s case is under CR950/2/23.
Kunaka also allegedly assaulted Matinyenya and her friend at a house in Harare’s Greendale suburb on Christmas Day, resulting in the matter being reported under case number RRB5377773 at Rhodesville Police Station.
Another assault case was reported at Harare Central in July last year under number IR071059. Matinyenya confirmed the cases but said she dropped charges on all previous matters except the February attack, where “he also attacked my daughter”.
Kunaka did not respond to questions sent a fortnight ago. Messages sent on WhatsApp were blue-ticked to show he had read them. He was also not answering calls.
Matinyenya alleged she has been abused by Kunaka since 2015 after she gave birth to his child. The attacks occurred at several places, including at the ministry of Finance offices, where he was employed as a senior official before his promotion to Mines permanent secretary last year.
She revealed the two have had a relationship since 2008 when she was only 17. She was married at the time but was cheating with Kunaka, whom she said pampered her with cash and gifts.
Kunaka is also married.
“I was young, vulnerable and impressionable. I guess I lost my bearing because of the gifts and the promise to marry me. I was pregnant at the time we were dating, but my husband found out about our affair in 2009, when my child was small, resulting in us separating,” she said.
“Kunaka then rented a house for me. Things were okay between us until 2015 when I gave birth to his child. He suddenly stopped sending my first child to school and stopped paying rent. My child had to drop from a private school and enrol at a government school as a result. He also started physically abusing me; the first time being in March 2016 when he hit me with a whip in the ministry of Finance offices.
“I almost fell through the window on the 6th floor as he was assaulting me,” she said.
Matinyenya said she reported the assault at Harare Central Police Station, but withdrew charges after he convinced her to do so.
“From that day, I have not known peace,” she said.
She said one of the most brutal attacks occurred last Christmas, when she went to his house to ask for money to treat their child, who has a heart ailment.
Matinyenya said Kunaka has refused to put his child on medical aid despite her condition.
“Our child fell ill. I called him for help because the child was not on medical aid, but he was not answering. I then went to his house. I was answered by his son who was very courteous. He asked me to come inside but I said I just wanted to see Kunaka and asked him to call him for me. While I was parked at the gate, someone drove out and asked why I was blocking the gate, before hurling insults at me,” she said.
“There were many people at the house and I saw a group of people advancing towards me, among them his daughter. I tried to reverse the car but his daughter hit me with a bottle after I crashed the car on a pillar.
“Kunaka came and took the keys away, and ordered people to beat me. I was accompanied by a friend, and we were both beaten. I was beaten until I soiled myself. They beat me from around 1830hrs to 2000hrs and I passed out. My sick daughter witnessed the attack and was crying throughout while holding onto her father. When I was released from his home, I met a guy who offered me his shirt. He phoned a taxi which took me to Rhodesville Police Station,” she said.
Matinyenya said Kunaka ignored police officers who attended the scene, and was only interviewed the following day, when she also “rescued” her daughter “who was cold and shivering after sleeping on the floor”.
She alleged Kunaka was in the habit of bribing police officers each time he attacked her, and believe he did so at Rhodesville as well. Matinyenya said the attitude of the police officers changed after they had a long meeting with Kunaka and even took him to court, when the magistrates’ court were on a break.
“I later withdrew the case after Kunaka pressured me to drop charges. He also promised to fix the car I was driving which was extensively damaged during the attack. I took the Mercedes Benz C180 to Zimoco for repairs and gave them his number, but when they called him, he said he did not know me. He failed to honour his promise, so I visited him at his offices on 20 February so that we could solve this matter,” she said.
“I went with both my children and we met him in the basement as he was also going out. He was about to go into his car and the small girl in excitement touched his car, a brand new Prado. He was offended and insulted her. I asked him if we could get into his car to talk, but when I held the door he started assaulting me while calling the guards. He was pushing me against the wall while pulling my breasts.
“He saw my daughter holding a phone, and turned on her. He chased her and hit her with a broom. He called her a ‘street kid’.”
Her daughter took a taxi and reported the as – sault at Harare Central Police Station, but she was told to come with an adult. Matinyenya then reported the assault alongside her daughter. Since the case involved a minor, the Social Welfare Department was also roped in.
She said Kunaka has asked her to drop the charges, saying she can never win the case, but she has refused. Matinyenya said the social welfare officer who initially handled the matter has recused himself, but told her to be strong for her daughter.
She suspects he was put under pressure, but refused to be compromised. She said a new officer is handling the matter.
She was interviewed on 13 March while Kunaka was later called to explain his side of the story.
Matinyenya said the matter was yet to be heard in court. Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyati did not respond to questions although he said he would personally look into the matter.
The revelations on Kunaka come at a time the Supreme Court has ruled that President Emmerson Mnangagwa should craft a code of conduct for the vice-president, ministers and their deputies.
This week, the court heard an appeal by Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi against a 2022 High Court ruling giving the minister 45 days to prepare a code of conduct for the vice-president, ministers and their deputies.
This was after a law student at the Zimbabwe Ezekiel Guti University, Nyasha Chiramba, represented by Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum lawyers, had approached the court, seeking to compel the minister and the Attorney-General to initiate the drafting of the Bill envisaged under section 106 (3) of the constitution.
He argued that the vice-presidents, ministers and deputy ministers have been involved in serious cases of misconduct, including sexual harassment and abuse of state resources, to no avail. For instance, former vice-president Kembo Mohadi was forced to resign after being implicated in a sexual abuse scandal which went viral on social media.
Ziyambi and the AG argued that it was the responsibility of the President and cabinet to craft the code, a position upheld by the Supreme Court bench comprising Deputy Chief Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza with Justices of Appeal Nicholas Mathonsi and Samuel Kudya, which the Supreme Court has ruled in favour of.