SW Radio Africa (London)

Zimbabwe: Mutasa Cracking Down On Political Opponents in Constituency

Didymus Mutasa, the ZANU PF secretary for administration, is reportedly cracking down on political opponents with growing intensity as the country limps slowly towards harmonized elections.

Mutasa, a Minister of State in the President's office, is the MP for Headlands in Manicaland province. He has reportedly issued instructions that no MDC-T meeting is to be held in that constituency.

On Thursday, true to his word, nine MDC-T party officials, including the aspiring candidate set to challenge him in Headlands, were arrested for holding an indoor meeting at Inyathi mine, which falls under ward 8.

David Tekeshe, the aspiring MDC-T parliamentary candidate in the area, said police broke up their ward meeting because they did not seek permission.

'You do not seek permission to hold a political meeting but you can only inform the police. Every day here ZANU PF holds political meetings throughout the constituency and apart from not informing the police they also get protection during the rallies,' Tekeshe said.

He claimed that since he declared his intention to challenge Mutasa in the parliamentary elections, the ZANU PF stalwart has clamped down harder on his political activities in Headlines.

'People say Mutasa anopisa musoro (Mutasa is big headed) while some say the same about me, so this is why he fears me. He's not comfortable with my fearlessness and I've promised to give him a good run for his money,' explained Tekeshe. He described Mutasa as a 'political dinosaur' facing extinction at the next general.

Pishai Muchauraya, the provincial party spokesman, confirmed they received reports of the arrest of Tekeshe and eight other members of their party. He said they have always faced problems in Headlands in securing venues to hold meetings and rallies.

'No official in that constituency is prepared to face the wrath of Mutasa by allowing the MDC to stage rallies anywhere in the constituency. What we've ended up doing is going to Rusape to seek permission there from higher authority. It shows you the grip with which Mutasa controls his constituency,' Muchauraya said.

Meanwhile Clement Zikhali, the ZAPU Youth Secretary for Information and Secretary, has been arrested and charged with insulting Robert Mugabe in Gwanda.

Our correspondent Lionel Saungweme told us it is still not clear exactly what Zikhali said that has got him into trouble with the authorities. The youth secretary was picked up by the police on Wednesday and is expected to appear in court on Friday.

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