Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Deputy minister Tongai Matutu (MDC-T) says Zanu PF is looking for an excuse to eliminate him hence the move to build a case that he beat up Chief Serima, (born Vengayi Rushwaya) of Gutu, Masvingo.
Matutu told NewsDay yesterday that Chief Fortune Charumbira and his colleagues in Zanu PF were blowing hot air and trying to build a non-existent case against him.
He said Zanu PF felt threatened by his presence in the province and attributed its waning political fortunes in Masvingo to MDC-T.
“They (Zanu PF) are building a case against me,” said Matutu. “They are just waiting for an opportune time. All this noise that I beat up Chief Serima is just a platform for them to achieve their goal which is to eliminate me.”
Traditional leaders at the just-ended chiefs’ conference held in Kariba at the weekend called on President Robert Mugabe to fire Matutu from government for allegedly beating up Chief Serima .
President Mugabe in his address said what the deputy minister did reflected lack of respect and promised to deal with the matter.
According to the Global Political Agreement (GPA) which brought about the inclusive government President Mugabe may not fire a government minister recommended by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai without consulting and agreeing with him.
However, President Mugabe has of late reportedly violated the GPA and proceeded to make key government appointments without Tsvangirai’s knowledge or approval.
Matutu, who is MP for Masvingo Central, said he was not worried if he was fired by President Mugabe.
“I will not lose sleep if I am fired from government,” said Matutu. “I have not failed to perform my duties. In any case if I am fired I will spend much time with grassroots members of my party.
“I however believe that if the case reaches such a stage, President Mugabe will be rational and objective in dealing with the matter.”
Asked to comment on Matutu’s allegations that Zanu PF was out to eliminate him the party’s secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa, said: “Why is he raising such issues? Is that the reason why he beat up Chief Serima?”
Mutasa added the fact that no criminal charges had been preferred against Matutu was not an issue.
“That is a mistake which cannot be corrected by another mistake.”
The MDC-T Masvingo provincial secretary said no criminal charges had been preferred against him hence there was no basis for him to be sacked.
Allegations against Matutu are that he assaulted Chief Serima in September at Matizha Business Centre following an argument. It is alleged that Matutu who was in the company of party activists slapped and punched the chief before pouring beer on him and chasing him.
Matutu accuses Chief Serima of misrepresenting facts by claiming he had been provoked and that he had been assaulted.
Many chiefs in Zimbabwe are supporters of President Mugabe and Zanu PF.
Many of them have been accused of colluding with perpetrators of political violence in their areas while others have reportedly victimised known opposition party supporters in their areas.
In return, they enjoy numerous personal privileges for their patronage.
They have government houses, vehicles and good salaries.