POLICE have charged a National University of Science and Technology (Nust) student leader with treason after he allegedly told a public meeting that if Pres
ident Robert Mugabe cannot be removed from power through elections, he will be “removed by the bullet”.
Mehluli Dube was arrested in a dramatic swoop at the Zimbabwe Trade Fair grounds where he was attending a Bulawayo Agenda-organised civil society meeting to discuss Constitutional Amendment (No 18).
He was picked up by six detectives from the Law and Order Section from Gwanda who were led by the officer-in-charge of the section whose name could not be established.
Dube, who was shaken by the incident, was taken to the Bulawayo central police station where the charges against him were read.
The police allege that Dube told the public meeting in Gwanda that “if President Mugabe does not want to go he will be removed by the ballot or the bullet”.
Dube was questioned and released following the intervention of Dzikamai Machingura of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) who represented him in the matter.
Police said they would proceed with the matter by way of summons in the coming two weeks. ZLHR director, Arnold Tsunga, who was also among the delegates at the conference when Dube was picked up, said the charges being levelled against Dube were serious.
“Treason is a serious offence,” said Tsunga. “Although he was released I could see that he was traumatised. Police have said they will proceed in the matter through summons.”
Bulawayo police spokesman, Mandlenkosi Moyo, could not immediately comment on Dube’s arrest as he was said to be out of the office.
Treason in Zimbabwe carries a death sentence or life in prison.
Seasoned politicians who have faced treason charges in the past few years include the late opposition leader Ndabaningi Sithole, Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai, and former PF-Zapu leader and nationalist Joshua Nkomo.
Dube also joins PF-Zapu leaders Dumiso Dabengwa and former Zipramilitary supremo Lookout Masuku in the list of those charged with treason by President Mugabe’s government.