Makone defends visit to police with Mutasa


The new co-Home Affairs Minister, Theresa Makone, has defended her visit to two police stations in Harare last week together with Presidential Affairs Minister Didymus Mutasa saying there was nothing wrong with what she did.
Media reports alleged the two ministers tried to intimidate police officers into releasing the Zanu PF politburo member’s son, Martin.
Makone, who has come under fire from her own party and the public over the incident, yesterday said her actions did not constitute any wrongdoing. Makone said in an interview with NewsDay last night that she travelled to the two police stations to help Mutasa find his son whom he had been trying to locate for two days at police stations across Harare.
“Mutasa called me on my mobile phone and informed me that he was searching for his son whom he had failed to locate at police stations in the city,” Makone said. “He then asked me to assist him in locating him.
“ I did not see any problems with that since as a government minister, I serve everyone irrespective of which party they belong to. As a minister I will treat any minister looking for his son whether from Zanu PF, MDC-T, MDC-M or even Zanu Ndonga in the same manner.
“If any Zimbabwean approaches me and says they are missing their son who is in police custody I will help them locate their son. Anyone who is arrested for whatever reason has human rights and I was helping Mutasa to locate which police station his son was detained,” Makone said.
She said when they were on their way to Matapi Police Station, Mutasa received a call from someone who informed him that his son was being held at Stodart Police Station.
The two decided to go there in separate cars.
“I got to Stodart before Mutasa and I enquired whether Mutasa’s son was detained at the station. Junior officers that were at the station confirmed that he was indeed at the police station and I asked them to locate the officer-in-charge.
“Martin was brought to us and after we had established that he was at the police station we left the police station. Mutasa was relieved to see his son and that is where the whole story ended,” Makone said.
She denied media reports that she and Mutasa had tried to go above the law and force the police to release the suspects.
Martin was arrested together with controversial Zanu PF activist and businessman Temba Mliswa after they allegedly attempted to seize shareholding from a company owned by businessman Paul Westwood.
Makone said she had no business trying to protect accused persons from the law.
“The allegations are not true. I am a minister for everyone. There is no way I can order the release of anyone from police custody. What I can only do is what I did with Mutasa – to help him locate his son. Whether the son is a saint or not, I have to help locate him, if he is under police custody. His parents have to know where he is but he has to face due process,” Makone said.
Turning to her alleged relationship with Mutasa, Makone laughed and said she was not related to Mutasa.
“Mutasa is a Nyati and people mistake my surname for Makoni people who use a Nyati totem. The fact is I am Makone and not Makoni. I am a chief’s daughter and I come from Mashonaland Central Province while Mutasa comes from Maungwe in Manicaland.”
Makone however said she first met Mutasa in Birmingham in the United Kingdom in 1976.
“I knew Mutasa in 1976. We met in Birmingham in the United Kingdom at a hospital where his wife was a nurse and she helped me deliver my son. But I do not know how that makes us relatives. I went to the United Kingdom after I was expelled from the University of Rhodesia and I went there as a Zanu PF activist,” she said.
Makone said her conscience was clear and that she had met with MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai over the matter. Tsvangirai, she said, had understood why she had done what she did.
“I will assist everyone even those in Zanu PF if they have problems with the police and Tsvangirai understood why I did that,” Makone said.
On statements attributed to police spokesperson, Wayne Bvudzijena, that action would be taken against her and Mutasa, Makone said she would await the police action.