Sunday, 20 December 2020


MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa believes incarcerated Harare mayor Jacob Mafume is being victimised for belonging to the opposition and is psyching his party to resist the alleged onslaught from President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.

Mafume was last week denied bail following his second arrest on accusations that he tried to bribe a state witness in his criminal case.

The mayor was initially arrested on November 25 for allegedly parcelling out land to his sister and an employee. He was denied bail by the magistrates court only to be released two weeks later by the High Court.

Chamisa’s spokesperson Nkululeko Sibanda said Mafume’s “persecution” was part of a wider plan to weaken the mainstream opposition.

“It is absolutely clear that the regime is carrying out rule by law,” Sibanda told The Standard. “They are turning the law around and weaponising it so that they can destroy all the functions of the MDC Alliance.

“The arrest of the mayor marks the beginning of a long battle that Zanu PF has put forward. “We are aware that this is going to happen, but no amount of illegality will stop the movement of the people and our progression towards democracy.”

Sibanda claimed Mafume was arrested for trying to stop the demolition of 190 houses in Budiriro high-density suburb.

The houses belonged to members of a housing cooperative aligned to Zanu PF, which illegally occupied council land.

“The land barons that he stood against are now running through a process so that the mayor is removed and Zanu PF can then do what it wants,” Sibanda said.

“This is all about the mayor’s fight against corruption and abuse of office and authority by Zanu PF officials, who have from time immemorial been getting land illegally. “There are a lot of Zanu PF stalwarts with huge tracts of land and you ask yourself where did they get it from?”

Tafadzwa Mugwadi, the Zanu PF director of information, said the ruling party had nothing to do with Mafume’s arrest.  “Zanu PF is not the Zimbabwe Republic Police,” Mugwadi said.

“Secondly, there are top officials in the MDC that are known and Jacob Mafume is not such. “He, therefore, should face his corruption cases head-on and avoid creating unnecessary side shows.” Standard


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