WASHINGTON DC —
The Zimbabwean government on Friday denied allegations that President Robert Mugabe ordered the arrest of the country's Olympic team for failing to win medals during the Rio Olympics.
The Minister of Transport and Communications Christopher Mushohwe said that the story was false and that the country is grateful for the athletes' efforts during this month's Olympics.
"That's absolute garbage. There's nothing like that here that has happened. Why should somebody be arrested for not getting a medal? Afterall, they went there and they played their part. And we're very grateful as a country that at least they went and participated at the Olympics," said Mushohwe.
A story which appeared on a Nigerian news website claimed Mr. Mugabe was not happy with the 31-member team's failure to win any medals and had instructed police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri to arrest athletes on their arrival home.
The site also alleged that President Mugabe had ordered that athletes repay the government money used to finance their trip.
However, Mushohwe strongly refuted any such claims.
"It's not everybody who gets a medal - it's not everybody who gets a gold medal. So, whoever is giving that malicious, unfounded information that someone was arrested at the international airport is just dreaming. There's nothing like that and it never would happen in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is a democratic state. We're actually proud of our people for the part they have undertaken the Olympic games."
Zimbabwean athletes, including swimming queen Kirsty Coventry, the national women’s soccer team, Mighty Warriors, and several athletes came back home empty-handed. CCTV