Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Office has condemned the recent arrest of Victoria Falls bookseller, Sinikiwe Matore, for selling the PM’s book, At the Deep End.
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka, described the move as a subtle way of banning the PM’s biography, which started selling in Zimbabwe late last year.
Matore was arrested on Friday at her ‘Rose Pet’ bookshop and was still in police custody as of last night.
“It is barbaric to arrest someone for selling a book,” he said.
“This is just a book by the Prime Minister about his life. How can you arrest them for selling literature?
“Is literature criminalised in this country? We have got to a stage where literature has indeed become criminal,” he said.
Tamborinyoka said the arrest of the bookseller was likely to create the impression Tsvangirai’s biography had been banned.
“We are beginning to see the unofficial banning of the book,” he said.
Tamborinyoka said the PM’s Office would continue to monitor the developments around the arrest of the bookseller.
“The person will go to court. We are watching the developments closely. That’s all I can say for now,” he said.
Matabeleland North provincial police spokesperson Sergeant Eglon Nkala said he could not comment on the arrest as he was out of office.
Three days before Matore’s arrest, police had allegedly raided the bookshop and confiscated all the 10 books in stock, before asking Matore and business partner Mlamuli Mabhena to produce invoices showing how they had purchased the books.
The receipts produced showed the books had been purchased at a bookshop in Harare.
On Friday one police officer, who identified himself as Officer Shiri from the Law and Order Section, went back to the bookshop and arrested Matore.
MDC-T said: “Victoria Falls police are now desperate to place false charges against the two bookshop owners by planting seditious material in order to take them to court.”
In the 1980s, the government banned late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo’s autobiography, The Story of My Life, which chronicled his alleged persecution by President Robert Mugabe’s government.
Tsvangirai’s biography, At the Deep End, was written by his former spokesperson and veteran journalist Tagwirei William Bango.
The book was published by Penguin Books of South Africa. The 663-page book chronicles Tsvangirai’s personal and political life.
The book, according to Tsvangirai, was titled At the Deep End on account of the challenges he has faced, some of which were “knife-edge and like being thrown at the deep end”.