Mutasa threatens cops with arrest

Zanu PF stalwart and controversial Minister of State for Presidential Affairs in the President’s Office, Didymus Mutasa, has allegedly threatened to cause the arrest and detention of police officers who dare assist besieged white commercial farmers in reclaiming their properties.
Allegations against Mutasa come at a time the politburo member is frantically fending off accusations that together with co-Minister of Home Affairs, Theresa Makone, he tried to influence the police to release his son and nephew from lawful custody. The politburo is Zanu PF’s supreme-decision making body outside congress.
Mutasa denied trying to coerce the police to release his son, Martin and controversial businessman, Temba Mliswa, from custody following their arrest on charges of fraud and extortion when they allegedly tried to wrest a motor vehicle company from the owner.
According to court papers, Mutasa allegedly threatened that any police officer who assisted white commercial farmers would be arrested and locked up. Keys to the holding cells, Mutasa is alleged to have said, would be handed to Deputy Commissioner General of Police, Godwin Matanga.
The allegations are contained in a High Court application filed by Chipinge farmer, Trevor Gifford who is challenging eviction from his farm house. Mutasa, the Zanu PF politburo secretary for administration, yesterday said allegations against him were “nonsense” and that he had never spoken to Gifford.
“It’s nonsense,” Mutasa told NewsDay. “I do not understand why Gifford is saying this because I never talked to the police. There are so many people who are prepared to say anything about me.”
But in court papers in our possession, Gifford alleged Mutasa threatened police officers who dared assist white farmers under siege from land invaders.
Gifford was seeking the eviction of people who forcibly occupied his Wolverhamton Farm.
The respondents were cited as Ronald Muchenga, one I. Mugomba, Muyesu and the Commissioner General of Police.
Gifford said in his court application: “While the first to third respondents and other youths were laying siege to the property, we sent word to the police advising them that we were under siege, but the police said they could not help because they had been instructed by minister Didymus Mutasa not to assist white farmers.
“They said minister Mutasa had said anyone who assists white farmers would be arrested and locked up and then the keys would be given to Deputy Commissioner General Godwin Matanga.
However, Mutasa was dealt a heavy blow after Justice George Chiweshe ruled in Gifford’s favour.
Chiweshe ordered the respondents and anyone acting with or through them to leave the property.
The judge also ruled Gifford should be allowed to resume farming operations on sub-division 17 of Wolverhampton Farm.
Mugomba, Muyesu and Muchega were also barred from harvesting and selling timber from the farm.
The trio was ordered to pay the costs of Gifford’s court application. While Mutasa denied threatening the police last month he told NewsDay the country’s laws did not allow land disputes to be referred to court.
He made the comment days after he had encouraged villagers in Chipinge to defy a ruling by the magistrates’ court ordering them to vacate Makandi Tea and Coffee Estates. The Commercial Farmers’ Union of Zimbabwe blames the current wave of disruptions on the farms on Mutasa’s remarks.

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