‘Minister’s arrest linked to CIO expose’

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MDC president Welshman Ncube has claimed detained minister Moses Mzila Ndlovu was being persecuted for revealing the late CIO boss — Mernard Muzariri — did not deserve to be declared a national hero because he allegedly killed a PF-Zapu official, Njini Ntutha, during the Gukurahundi era.

Muzariri was declared a national hero and buried at the National Heroes’ Acre on Thursday.

Ncube made the remarks while addressing party supporters at Kezi in Matobo on Sunday.

The MDC leader said the real reason for the detention of the minister was that he told congregants Muzariri shot Ntutha at point-blank range at the PF-Zapu official’s farm along Victoria Falls Road at the height of the Gukurahundi massacres in the 1980s.

“We are celebrating Independence Day when one of the liberators of this country is languishing in jail. He has been arrested for saying that Muzariri shot Ntutha in cold blood at his farm during the days of Gukurahundi.

“It is public knowledge that the incident occurred. We know that it is the truth,” claimed Ncube.

Ntutha was a member of PF-Zapu’s central committee and was one of the party’s key negotiators at the Lancaster House conference before independence.

Mzila-Ndlovu, the MDC House of Assembly representative for Bulilima West and co-Minister in the Organ for National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration, was arrested last Friday for addressing a memorial service for Gukurahundi victims and survivors at a Roman Catholic Church Mass in Lupane on Wednesday.

Monday police national spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena dismissed Ncube’s claim saying: “I do not comment on something that has been said by someone. We have a genuine case against Mzila-Ndlovu. He did not notify the police about the meeting as required by the law. There is nothing political about that,” he said.

Ncube said Mzila-Ndlovu, a former Zipra cadre, was also charged with undermining the authority of the police when he allegedly said some of the members of the force were committing human rights violations on behalf of Zanu PF.

The case has sucked in Roman Catholic Church priest, Father Marko Mabutho Mnkandla, who was arrested and charged in connection with the matter.

The priest is set to appear in court today facing three more fresh charges of publishing falsehoods against the state, publicising hate speech against Shona people in contravention of the Public Order and Security Act and possessing pornographic material.

Meanwhile, police in Lupane yesterday barred MDC president Ncube from visiting the detained minister.

MDC officials arrived at the police station in the morning to visit Ndlovu but were turned away and told to return at 12:30pm.

However, when they returned, they found all gates at the police station closed and a junior policeman told them he was under instruction not to let them in.

Said Ncube Monday: “I had decided to use Independence Day to visit Mzila at the police (station), because this is what he fought for (independence), but government has decided to keep him captive.”

Relatives and friends of other detainees also failed to see their loved ones.

The Officer Commanding Matabeleland North, Senior Assistant Commissioner Edmore Veterai, could not be reached for comment on his mobile phone last night while the national police spokesman, Senior Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena, professed ignorance of the development.

“I am not aware that he (Mzila-Ndlovu) is being denied visitors. I will have to check with Hwange,” he said last night.