In a letter sent to Zimbabwean police on Thursday, controversial multimillionaire businessman Frank Buyanga wrote that was he was “notifying” them he had “recovered” his son at Parktown Shops in Harare. They would therefore no longer need to concern himself with his complaint – amid accusations that the police had had no intention to help him anyway.
The child had been with his mother Chantelle Muteswa’s mother, the child’s grandmother, who suffered mild injuries in the process.
In the footage she can be seen hopelessly scrambling to retain the child, to no avail.
Chantelle is the ex-girlfriend of Buyanga, who now lives in South Africa and is known for his flamboyant lifestyle. Muteswa and Buyanga have been fighting for custody of the child.
The children’s court gave Buyanga temporary custody after Muteswa was evicted from a property where she had been living with her father, but was subsequently accused of “kidnapping” the boy from his father, who evidently arranged to “kidnap” him back.
On Tuesday, The Citizen reported that Buyanga was demanding that the Zimbabwean police commissioner and the country’s home affairs minister investigate the matter urgently to return his son to him.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s family was dragged into the matter between Buyanga and his former girlfriend as Muteswa is now dating the president’s son Collins.
Collins was accused of facilitating the disappearance of the four-year-old in the original “kidnapping”.
In a message to Buyanga seen by The Citizen, an alleged witness tells him: “My brother is very close to the first family and he told me that the kidnapping of Buyanga’s son was a well-orchestrated plan. Between 10 and 11 March, Mrs Mnangagwa’s sons met with members of the police force and gave them instructions to forcefully grab your son with an outdated court order.”
The testimony continued: “The messenger of court was told to cooperate or he would lose his job. Your ex-girlfriend was again to relay her story to [First Lady] Mrs Auxilia Mnangagwa as a cover up so that if Number 1 [the president] asks she will cover [for] the boys.”
The witness further warned Buyanga that the police had been instructed to treat him as an enemy of the state and not to investigate or arrest anyone he was complaining against.
“Right now the family has told Chantelle to go into hiding with the child until they finish dealing with you.” He warned Buyanga that his life was allegedly in danger.
“The main actors are Auxilia, Emmerson Junior and Collins. Collins is putting the pressure as he is dating Chantelle and promised her that he will make Frank lose at all costs.”
Buyanga, known for his sports cars and based in Sandton, had been battling to bring his son to South Africa after the mother claimed sole custody of him and denied him shared custody. Buyanga was barred from travelling with the child.
The businessman had also been seeking the court’s directive to force his former girlfriend to have their son carry his name.
Buyanga last week received a landmark ruling in his favour that gives fathers of children born out of wedlock the same rights as their mothers.
The court ruled that the common law position discriminated against a child born out of wedlock by treating the child as if he or she had no father save for the purposes of maintenance. Zimbabwean law favours women over men when it comes to the custody rights of children.
Then he again approached the court on an urgent basis seeking to compel the police and home affairs minister to find his son.
“I successfully obtained a court order that extended my access rights to allow me to provide accommodation for the minor child. The court found that his mother could not provide accommodation for him. In compliance with the court order, I have been staying with the minor child as directed by the children’s court until the mother kidnapped him on 11 March 2020.”
The court application says further: “I have made two police reports. One was made at the Harare Central Police station under IR030842 and the other at Highlands Police Station under RRB4311849. I have not been given an investigating officer on both of them to date.”
Zimbabwe government spokesperson Nick Mangwana did not respond to requests for comment.