Energy and Power Development minister Elton Mangoma has been arrested for allegedly insulting President Robert Mugabe at a rally in March.
Report by Moses Matenga, Staff Reporter
ENERGY and Power Development minister Elton Mangoma was yesterday arrested for allegedly insulting President Robert Mugabe during his address at an MDC-T rally at Munhenga business centre in Bindura seven months ago.
Mangoma was arrested at his Chaminuka Building offices by four police detectives from the Law and Order Section in the afternoon and taken to Harare Central Police Station.
From there, the police drove him towards Bindura, but reportedly made a U-turn and drove back to Harare before releasing him when his lawyers intervened.
Top lawyers Selby Hwacha and Beatrice Mtetwa are representing the minister Mtetwa said: “He was arrested and we have been told they wanted to take him to Bindura. We are not sure of the charge except that it relates to undermining the authority of the President. We don’t have details of where the rally was and what the actual words were.”
NewsDay managed to speak to Mangoma before he was released and he said: “I was taken to Harare Central Police Station and am being charged with undermining the President by chanting slogans calling for Mugabe to go. They were now taking me to Bindura, but I am told they will be taking me back to Harare Central.”
Hwacha said after the minister’s release: “A statement was recorded from him and he was released on the basis they would issue summons if they want him in court. He was arrested for uttering statements that demean the person and office of the President.”
Earlier, the MDC-T had condemned Mangoma’s arrest as politically-motivated and meant to weaken the party’s position ahead of the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference.
“We condemn the timing of the arrest which is meant to weaken the MDC team ahead of the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference. It’s designed to weaken the negotiating team ahead of consultative meetings with Sadc. It’s retributive because some big fish in the system wrongly blame Mangoma for the information leaked to the Press regarding unpaid electricity bills and also his stance on the ethanol project,” said MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora.