So Zim ruling elite acknowledges there’s persecution in the country!

Her husband, who is the ruling Zanu PF party spokesman, Christopher Mutsvangwa, was not to be left out of the outburst.

Last week’s audio recording, widely believed to have been of Women’s Affairs minister Monica Mutsvangwa (after the arrest of her son Neville) was quite telling.

She appeared to have been convinced that his arrest (and presumably denial of bail by the courts) was all part of a carefully crafted political persecution plot.

Her husband, who is the ruling Zanu PF party spokesman, Christopher Mutsvangwa, was not to be left out of the outburst.

In an interview with The Standard newspaper, he repeated his wife’s allegations.

Their son is currently incarcerated, awaiting the hearing for his bail application, for alleged illegally trading in foreign currency, as well as facilitating services of a yet-to-be-licensed internet service provider, Starlink,

After listening to and reading the clearly irate Mutsvangwas’ statements, I found myself thinking: Oh, so these people in the ruling elite actually acknowledge there is political persecution in Zimbabwe!

That is very interesting!

When opposition activists Job Sikhala and Jacob Ngarivhume, among others, were arrested and jailed on spurious charges, most of us cried “political persecution”.

In fact, we were so specific in pointing to what is now termed the “weaponisation of the law” as the chief tool of political persecution in Zimbabwe.

This is when the country’s law enforcement agencies and Judiciary are abused to settle political scores or punish perceived political opponents.

It is also referred to as “lawfare”.

Opponents are arrested and charged with various usually nonsensical crimes, after which our courts send them to prison either by denying them their constitutional right to bail or finding them guilty.

This is exactly what we witnessed in utter shock with Sikhala and Ngarivhume.

The former languished in remand prison for nearly 600 days after being repeatedly denied bail, while the latter was sentenced to four years in the absence of prima facie evidence.

Fortunately, Ngarivhume’s politically-motivated conviction and sentence were eventually overturned by the High Court after appeal — although he had already spent eight months behind bars.

In the midst of intense public outrage against this undoubted political persecution, the Zimbabwe regime was at pains to distance itself from these cases.

We even had President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa smugly commenting that he never instructs the Judiciary what to do — as the country’s justice system was independent.

As a matter of fact, Monica (while still Information minister) justified the obvious politically-motivated arrest of Ngarivhume and journalist Hopewell Chin’ono in 2020.

This was after the two urged Zimbabweans to peacefully demonstrate on July 31, 2020, against rampant corruption and oppression in the country.

Actually, Chin’ono had, at the time, been at the forefront of exposing massive high profile corruption in the procurement of COVID-19 PPE (personal protective equipment) allegedly between the Government of Zimbabwe and Drax International.

The company was represented in the country by Dilesh Nguwaya, who was said to be a close associate of the First Family.

Mutsvangwa never interpreted these arrests as political persecution, particularly through the weaponisation of the law, but rather the wheels of justice turning.

So, what has changed now, Monica?

Are the same wheels of justice — which arrested, repeatedly denied bail to perceived opponents, and even found them guilty — not supposed to turn in regard to her beloved son, Neville?

Are the police and our courts suddenly no longer independent simply because her son is now at the receiving end?

Since she alleges “political persecution” who does she believe is behind Neville’s arrest?

In fact, who has enough influence in the country to order the police and Judiciary to persecute the son of a Cabinet minister, and the ruling Zanu PF party spokesman?

Reading between the lines of Christopher Mutsvangwa’s The Standard interview, he appears to finger vice-president Constantino Chiwenga.

If this is indeed “political persecution”, so can Monica and her motormouth husband finally acknowledge that Sikhala, Ngarivhume, Chin’ono and many others were similarly persecuted?

Are these two willing to recant their statements uttered over the years, whereby they denied judicial capture and the use of lawfare against opponents?

As a matter of fact, all those in the ruling elite acknowledge there has always been abuse of our justice delivery system in Zimbabwe to settle political scores.

Why did Mnangagwa flee the country — to the extent of crossing the border into South Africa illegally — soon after being sacked from the vice-presidency by then leader Robert Gabriel Mugabe in early November 2017?

He only had the guts to return after being certain Mugabe had been removed from power through a military coup d’état.

What was he so terrified of?

The same applies to former Zanu PF top officials and Cabinet ministers Jonathan Moyo, Saviour Kasukuwere and Walter Mzembi.

Where are they now?

Are they not holed up in Kenya or South Africa?

In fear of what?

If there was genuinely no persecution in Zimbabwe, would these high-ranking officials have fled the country after their political fortunes had changes?

What is even more curious is that these were not opposition activists but Zanu PF senior members — yet they had to run for their lives in fear of their own.

No one can deny that there is little democracy in Zimbabwe — where the justice delivery system is compromised and can be abused to settle political scores.

Therefore, the next time those in power deny that the arrest and jailing of opponents is political persecution, they will clearly be lying.

They all know the truth…and they can easily become the next victims.

Just ask Monica and Christopher!

  • Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate and writer. Please feel free to WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or email: [email protected], or visit website:

Related Topics