My life is in danger— minister


A senior Zanu PF official who is also a government minister claims she is being hounded by unidentified people who she says were allegedly calling her on her cellphone accusing her of being one of the party “rebels” who voted for MDC-T candidate Lovemore Moyo in last week’s Speaker polls.

In an exclusive interview with NewsDay, a panic-stricken Tracy Mutinhiri, a Zanu PF MP and Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Services, said she had received many calls from people baying for her blood.

“I am living in fear,” said a distressed Mutinhiri.

“I am being accused of having voted ‘wrongly’ during the election for the Speaker of Parliament last week. My life is in danger,” she said.

Last Thursday, a day after Zanu PF candidate Simon Khaya Moyo lost the Speaker’s post to MDC-T’s national chairman, Moyo, the party went on a witch-hunt to sniff out the MPs suspected to have voted for the opposition.

Mutinhiri said the unidentified callers alleged her name was among the three MPs whom Didymus Mutasa, the party’s secretary for administration, described as “dissidents”.

“I have also been barred by Zanu PF people from any activity in my constituency. They claim that I have joined another political party,” she said.

“My parliamentary office assistant, Shepherd Kaserera, whom I fired for going AWOL called me and warned me not to throw stones if I live in a glass house. I find this shocking. I also got a message from a fellow parliamentarian who said he had also been suspected of having voted for MDC-T during the election,” she said.

Efforts to obtain comment from Kaserera were unsuccessful as his mobile phone went unanswered.

Mutinhiri said she suspected she was being targeted because of her close alliance with certain individuals within the MDC-T leadership.

Mutinhiri said her troubles started when she attended a funeral wake for her cousin, Innocent Muzuva, a known MDC-T activist who died in a car crash while returning from MDC-T’s 11th anniversary celebrations in Gokwe last year.

She was joined at the funeral wake by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and representatives of his party in mourning her cousin.

Mutinhiri said she was not at liberty to disclose whom she voted for in Parliament last Thursday because the vote was secret and confidential.
“It was a secret ballot and for me to say I voted for Lovemore Moyo is something else. I find it surprising and a reflection of political enemies in my party,” she said.

Mutinhiri said it was better for her to be fired from the party and be left alive than to be killed by those who were trailing her.

“After all, I don’t have a position in Zanu PF. Why would they want to kill me?” she said.

Parliament and other sources told NewsDay yesterday that suspects had been called in by Khaya Moyo to explain.

Sources said Beater Nyamupinga was summoned to explain as she was also suspected to have voted “otherwise”.

The sources said Mutinhiri, who controversially lost her post as political commissar for Zanu PF women’s league last year to politburo member Olivia Muchena, was set to lose her farm and other benefits from Zanu PF for allegedly going against the party’s anti-sanctions drive.

“She (Mutinhiri) is in great danger,” the source said.
“She is being accused of being pro-MDC-T. She is seen as an MDC-T sympathiser because some of her relatives are active in that party.

“In fact, we understand she has been receiving threatening calls from people asking whether she was still Zanu PF or has abandoned ship. She risks losing her farm if the accusations stick. Top guns in Zanu PF are angry that she did not sign the anti-sanctions petition.”

But Mutinhiri hit back saying she was not worried about losing the farm as it was not hers in the first place.

“If they want to take my farm, I am ex-wife of a man who fought in the liberation struggle.

“I feel the Mashonaland East leadership does not like me for unknown reasons. I have suffered since 2000 and I even suffered more to get this post,” she said.

“Basically, I feel victimised for reasons best known to Mashonaland East (Zanu PF) leadership. If they feel I have no role to play, they should just fire me and leave me alone.