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Mutasa faces arrest

Itai Dzamara

ANTI-CORRUPTION minister Didymus Mutasa faces stern disciplinary action from Zanu PF and possible arrest after being implicated in acts of violence against a party rival vying for his seat in Ma

koni North.

Mutasa could be taken to court to answer charges of public violence and destruction of property, police sources said. Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri recently said police would deal with anyone involved in violence regardless of status.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena this week said the findings of police investigations had been submitted to the Attorney-General’s Office which will decide on prosecution.

“We don’t discuss our investigations or findings. We submit them to the AG’s office because it is part of the court process. The suspected people will be called to answer charges against them,” he said.

Sources in the ruling party said President Robert Mugabe recently told a politburo meeting that he was not happy with reports of intra-party violence ahead of primary elections. Mugabe, the sources said, ordered a full investigation of the clashes in Mutasa’s Makoni North constituency. The culprits could face stern disciplinary measures.

State media reports at the weekend said police had found that Mutasa had a case to answer over the violent incident in which a rival candidate in Zanu PF primary elections, James Kaunye, was beaten up by the minister’s supporters. Mutasa three weeks ago confirmed to the Independent that his supporters assaulted Kaunye because he was trying to invade his constituency.

Mutasa has publicly said he wants to be one of the two vice-presidents. Until he was implicated in the Makoni violence, he was named as one of those vying to replace the late vice-president Simon Muzenda.

Zanu PF Women’s League heavyweight Joyce Mujuru and ruling party secretary for administration Emmerson Mnangagwa are also possible candidates for the position which should be filled during the party’s congress in December. Mnangagwa, who is also speaker of parliament, was initially considered the favourite until Mujuru emerged as a contender.

Mutasa, a former speaker of parliament, has been an MP since 1980 and is one of the few remaining veteran ministers. He was recently involved in a scuffle in parliament with MDC MP Roy Bennett.

Zanu PF chairman for Manicaland Mark Madiro this week said the party leadership in the province was investigating the violence in Makoni North.

“There have been investigations into the violence and the matter is now being looked into by the party’s disciplinary committee. We want to avoid the recurrence of such incidents which tarnish the image of the party,” Madiro said.

Mutasa last month confirmed that he had paid bail for 31 of his supporters who had been arrested after they allegedly attacked Kaunye. Mutasa currently holds the seat.

This week Mutasa refused to comment on the matter, saying “it is before the courts and police are involved”.

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