BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
VICE-PRESIDENT Kembo Mohadi (71) has dismissed allegations that he was involved in illicit relationships with married women, including his subordinate, saying it was a set up by his political detractors who peddled lies against him.
Recorded phone calls alleged to be between Mohadi and the alleged lovers, went viral on social media, which triggered social criticism against the Vice-President.
Addressing journalists at his Munhumutapa offices yesterday, Mohadi said he was a victim of political machinations being peddled through hacking and voice cloning and affirmed his commitment to continue serving the nation.
“Fellow Zimbabweans following the recent social media hype about my alleged illicit relationship with two married women, I have decided to come open and respond to the allegations being peddled by my detractors,” Mohadi said.
“Despite growing impatient because of the weird character assassination, I wish to categorically state that allegations being levelled against me are not only false, but well-choreographed to demean, condescend, and soil my image as a national leader and patriot.”
The scandal, exposed comprehensively by an online publication, ZimLive exposed how the 71-year-old politician allegedly lured different young women for sex, sometimes in his office.
The alleged leaked phone recordings revealed that Mohadi was embroiled in sexual relations with his married subordinate.
He was also allegedly in a relationship with another woman, whose marriage has since collapsed after the scandal was exposed, according to social media reports.
Mohadi also said the false social media reports infringed his right to privacy as enshrined in section 57 of the Constitution.
“I am aware that my right to privacy has been trashed in terms of section 57 of the Constitution of the Act 2013 Zimbabwe Amendment (Number 20) Act 2013, which reads as follows, ‘every person has right the right to privacy, which include the right not to have the privacy of their communication s infringed.’
“Despite the noise in digital media ecologies, I wish to clearly state that I am innocent and a victim of political machinations being peddled through hacking and voice cloning.”
Women rights organisations and human rights activists have condemned the alleged affairs and called for a probe into Mohadi’s conduct.
“Over the past couple of hours, news outlets have reported on emerging details of the country’s Vice-President, Kembo Mohadi being involved in ‘illicit’ relationships with his female subordinates. The Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe said in a statement yesterday.
“Due to the power dynamics of the parties involved, this has compelled calls for investigations on possibilities of sexual harassment within the office of the Vice-President. Sexual harassment in the workplace has been a topical issue that affects many women in both private and public sectors and the handling of this case determines the country’s willingness to eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace and give victims and survivors hope.”
But in his statement, Mohadi appreciated the support he got from his fellow “colleagues and comrades who fully grasped the rigid complexities of concocted enemy attacks.”
“The camaraderie and support given to me during this trying hour is greatly appreciated. That these faceless netizens have blended well networked digital architecture to reengineer the spaces for political demonization, will not dampen my spirit as a tried and tested cadre.”
Permanent secretary in the Information ministry, Nick Mangwana also defended Mohadi’s actions saying members of the public should not concern themselves on issues where consenting adults were involved.
Mohadi also made headlines in the media following his nasty divorce with his ex-wife Tambudzani.
Mohadi refused to take questions from journalists and referred all questions to his lawyers who threatened to file a lawsuit against news sites which broke the story.
“We are definitely working on something (in relation to the lawsuit).We exercise restraint in disclosing further details,” Mohadi’s lawyer Norman Mugiya said.
But ZimLive editor Mduduzi Mathuthu said he was unmoved by the threats.
“Naturally, we have activated out lawyers in preparedness and we relish the opportunity to meet Mr Mohadi in court,” he said.
l Follow Miriam on Twitter @FloMangwaya