By Godfrey Mtimba
MASVINGO – Masvingo police have arrested MDC provincial chairman Wilstaff
Stemere and Mwenezi district secretary Fortune Makonzo in circumstances
described by their lawyer as politically motivated.
Police officers picked up Stemere on Monday morning at his workplace. He is
accused of ferrying party youths to assault a Zanu PF supporter at a plot in
Morningside in the city.
Makonzo is in trouble for allegedly commenting that President Robert Mugabe
is too old to rule. This was after the 87-year-old appeared on television
during the evening news hour at eight last Friday.
Makonzo is languishing in Mwenezi police cells while Stemere was detained
for over seven hours. Both are expected to appear in court today.
Their lawyer, Martin Mureri of Matutu and Partners confirmed the arrests.
“I am still trying to get hold of the guy in Mwenezi but Stemere is facing
assault and unlawfully entry charges,” said Mureri.
He said Stemere never went to the plot as claimed by the Zanu PF supporter.
“This is political and the charges are cooked up. The complainant alleges
that Stemere came to his plot at midnight. He said it was dark and I wonder
how he identified Stemere in the dark. It is just political victimisation of
my client,” he said.
MDC Mwenezi chairman Brian Nhachi told the Daily News that Makonzo was
languishing in police cells after he was picked up on Sunday for allegedly
insulting Mugabe in a bar at Rutenga Growth Point in Mwenezi.
“He was arrested after some suspected members of the intelligence reported
him to police alleging he had insulted the president who had appeared on
news hour launching the inputs scheme last Friday. He is currently in police
cells in Mwenezi,” said Nhachi.
“As MDC we think he was targeted because he is our party official. There has
been a crackdown on our people. The comments he made did not have anything
to do with the president’s age but these guys cooked it all up,” he said.
Efforts to get a comment from Masvingo police spokesperson Inspector Tinaye
Matake were fruitless as his phone was not reachable.
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