By A Correspondent| Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, Pfungwa Kunaka has found himself at the centre of a scandal where he faces severe accusations of abusing his lover and stepdaughter within the premises of his government office.
Disturbing reports suggest that Kunaka has been involved in similar incidents in the past, managing to escape consequences due to his influential position as a senior official.
The victim, Rumbidzai Matinyenya, says she reported the physical abuse to the Harare Central Police Station on multiple occasions over the years but was eventually persuaded to drop the charges. However, she has refused to withdraw charges related to a recent assault that occurred on February 20 at the ministry’s headquarters in the financial district.
According to reports, Kunaka allegedly assaulted his 14-year-old stepdaughter while security guards looked on helplessly. The matter was officially reported at the Harare Central Police Station, resulting in the opening of a docket under CR 951/02/23 for the case involving his mistress and CR950/2/23 for the stepdaughter’s case.
This is not the first time Kunaka’s violent behavior has come to light. On Christmas Day, he allegedly attacked Matinyenya and her friend at a house in Harare’s Greendale suburb, leading to the incident being reported under case number RRB5377773 at the Rhodesville Police Station. In July of the previous year, a separate assault complaint was filed at the Harare Central Police Station with reference number IR071059. Matinyenya acknowledged these instances but claimed she had withdrawn charges in all previous cases except for the February assault, where her daughter was also attacked.
Efforts to reach Kunaka for comment have been unsuccessful, with unanswered WhatsApp messages indicating that he has read them, and phone calls going unanswered.
Matinyenya has revealed that she has been subjected to abuse since 2015, when she gave birth to Kunaka’s child. She has identified various locations where the assaults took place, including the Ministry of Finance buildings, where Kunaka worked as a senior official before his promotion to Mines permanent secretary last year.
The relationship between Matinyenya and Kunaka began in 2008 when she was only 17 years old. Despite being married at the time, Matinyenya engaged in an affair with Kunaka, who showered her with money and gifts. Kunaka himself is married.
Matinyenya explained, “I was young, vulnerable, and impressionable. I guess I lost my bearings 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 continued, “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 enroll 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.”
Matinyenya initially reported the assault at the Harare Central Police Station but withdrew the charges after Kunaka convinced her to do so. She has since claimed that she has not known peace since that day.
One of the most brutal attacks occurred last Christmas when Matinyenya went to Kunaka’s house to ask for money to treat their child, who has a heart ailment. Despite the child’s condition, Kunaka has allegedly refused to provide medical aid.
Matinyenya recounted the incident, saying, “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 continued, “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 into 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.”
Matinyenya claims that Kunaka often bribes police officers after assaulting her, and she believes he did the same in Rhodesville. Despite spending considerable time with Kunaka and even taking him to court while the magistrates’ court was on a break, Matinyenya noticed a change in police officers’ attitudes towards her case.
According to Matinyenya, she was interviewed on March 13th, and Kunaka was subsequently contacted to provide his explanation. However, the case has not yet been heard in court, and Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyati, the police spokesperson, has not responded to inquiries despite previously stating that he would personally look into the matter.
These revelations concerning Kunaka come at a time when the Supreme Court has mandated President Emmerson Mnangagwa to establish a code of conduct for vice presidents, ministers, and their deputies. The court heard Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi’s appeal against a 2022 High Court decision that granted him 45 days to draft the code of conduct. The appeal was lodged by Nyasha Chiramba, a law student at Zimbabwe’s Ezekiel Guti University, who argued that the officials had been complicit in grave instances of misconduct, including sexual harassment and misuse of public funds.