Another Zanu PF official in ‘First Family blessings’ extortion saga

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ANOTHER senior Zanu PF Youth League official, Lewis Mathuthu, has been sucked into a property wrangle after allegedly using the First Family’s name to invade a Zimasco-owned property in Zvishavane, hardly a month after Harare provincial youth chair Godwin Gomwe was arrested for extorting housing cooperatives using First Lady Grace Mugabe’s name.

BY OBEY MANAYITI

Mathuthu reportedly pounced at the property being leased to a Zvishavane resident identified as Clemence Chimuti.

Without taking note of the ownership structure of the property, Mathuthu, who was in the company of other party youths, approached Chimuti and declared that he had the blessings of the First Family to take over the property.

Chimuti confirmed the matter and promised to provide details upon return from a foreign trip.

Zimasco also confirmed the development and said relevant authorities had been told about the incident and they were handling it accordingly.

“Zimasco confirms that it was leasing out one of its properties in Zvishavane to Mr Chimuti. This property has since been invaded by Mr Lewis Mathuthu,” a senior official Clara Sadomba said.

“The company has referred this matter to the relevant authorities for resolution. The matter is yet to be resolved.”

Mathuthu is the secretary for administration in the Youth League. He took over after the suspension of Varaidzo Mupunga who was accused of working with former Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s camp in plotting to unseat President Robert Mugabe.

Like Gomwe, he was recently accused of using the First Family’s name in extortion. Gomwe is currently on bail for extorting $46 000 from housing co-operatives in Harare’s high-density suburb of Glen Norah.

Seized with the matter and the alleged abuse of the First Family’s name, the Zanu PF Midlands provincial executive has ordered an investigation into Mathuthu’s conduct which is headed by Zhombe MP Daniel Mackenzie Ncube.

Ncube confirmed to NewsDay that an inquiry to establish circumstances surrounding the matter was in progress.

“We haven’t concluded our findings yet on that matter and I cannot say anything further than that,” Ncube said.

But Mathuthu dismissed the allegations as a plot to tarnish his good name.

“All I can say is that I have the right to land and decent accommodation like any other Zimbabwean, according to the Zimbabwean Constitution,” Mathuthu said.

“For your own information, I was accused of extortion a few months ago and the matter was investigated and I was cleared of any wrongdoing.

“If things continue like this, I am going to name and shame some evil leaders who are targeting and willing to damage youths who are loyal to the party and its leadership.”

Some officials in Midlands province claimed they had been summoned to State House in connection with the matter as growing fears mount over the abuse of the First Family’s name especially by the Youth League members.

“The party is so keen to correct this vice of people trying to benefit from abusing the First Family’s name. Some top leaders in Midlands have been called to explain what happened in this case as Zimasco has appealed to the national leadership,” a provincial member said.

According to sources, Zimasco has title deeds to the plot in question and it was leasing it to Chimuti with an option for rent-to-buy.

“The man had put a lot of investment in renovating the place. He probably wanted to convert it into a lodge and butchery as well. That is when Mathuthu came in the company of some rowdy Zanu PF youths who broke in and intimidated the occupants, claiming they were taking over. They were saying they had blessings from the First Family,” a source privy to the goings-on added.

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