Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s key official, Jameson Timba has been arrested.
Timba, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office and also the MDC-T secretary for international relations, was arrested at around 4:30pm as he walked out of his office at Munhumutapa Building.
Asked for comment, police spokesperson Andrew Phiri said he was not at his office and therefore was unaware of the development. His senior, Wayne Bvudzijena, did not pick up his mobile phone.
Selby Hwacha, Timba’s lawyer last night said: “The minister has been arrested but we are being denied access to him. All the senior police officers deny any knowledge of his arrest leaving us with the impression that he has been kidnapped outside the
knowledge of their seniors.
“But he has certainly been brought to Law and Order (Section of the CID).”
Hwacha said he was not aware why the minister has been arrested. The MDC-T last night said Timba had been arrested for allegedly undermining the authority of the President.
“According to the police, the charge against Honourable Timba is based on an article which appeared in last week’s edition of The Standard newspaper which allegedly stated that Robert Mugabe lied about the outcome of the Sadc summit in South Africa,” the MDC-T said in a
“Currently, Honourable Timba is being held by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Law and Order Section at Harare Central Police Station.
The MDC finds it strange that the minister can be arrested on the basis of a newspaper report. Equally, we find it a little suspicious to choose Friday as the day to effect arrest.”
The MDC-T said it was watching the developments closely and demanded that “the minister is treated with the respect he deserves in accordance with the laws of the country”.
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, Luke Tamborikonya, said the arrest was suspicious.
“The arrest comes soon after Jonathan Moyo’s threats to have minister Timba arrested. It appears the police are now taking instructions from Zanu PF politburo members,” Tamborinyoka said.
Jonathan Moyo, a Zanu PF politburo member, has been agitating for the arrest of Tsvangirai and Timba on allegations they undermined President Robert Mugabe.
Moyo said Tsvangirai and Timba allegedly violated Section 33 of the Criminal Code, which prohibits the undermining of the authority of the President or insulting the Head of State and Government.
The former Information minister was responding to public statements by the Prime Minister and Timba to the effect that President Mugabe lied about the outcome of the recent Sadc Extraordinary Summit held in South Africa.
“I strongly believe that it is high time that the law should take its course. It is totally unacceptable for Tsvangirai and Jameson Timba to call Cde Mugabe a liar,” Moyo told the national broadcaster on Tuesday.
“Who is Tsvangirai? He is just a senior minister and Timba a junior minister who is known for spearheading and mobilising funds for independent media under the three million pounds project sponsored by the West.”
The national broadcaster said the “utterances” by Tsvangirai and Timba were “a violation of the law and a serious offence that can result in prosecution”.
Attorney-General (AG) Johannes Tomana said if anybody found the alleged behaviour of Tsvangirai and Timba criminal, they were free to effect a citizen’s arrest or report to the police.
He was responding to calls for the AG to prosecute the two MDC-T leaders.