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Two Zimbabwean Ministers Said to Obstruct Justice in Alleged Shakedown Case

  • Ntungamili Nkomo

Martin Mutasa and two men are accused of representing to businessman Paul Westwood that President Mugabe and Indigenization Minister Kasukuwere had authorized them to take a 50 percent stake in his investment firm

Zimbabwean police have accused two ministers of trying to obstruct justice by demanding the release of three men who were accused of pressuring a white businessman to give them a half share in his company.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said Minister of State for Security Didymus Mutasa, who is attached to the office of President Robert Mugabe, visited two police stations in Harare this week demanding the release of his son Martin, who was arrested with Temba Mliswa and George Marere.

Police said Mutasa was accompanied by the new co-minister of Home Affairs, Theresa Makone of the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Makone as Home Affairs minister has oversight of the police, though her ZANU-PF co-minister, Kembo Mohadi, is seen wielding more influence.

A report in the state-controlled Herald newspaper, Bvudzijena was quoted as saying the two ministers had sought to obstruct justice. But he did not say whether they would face any charges in the matter.

Mutasa’s son and the other two men have been accused of representing to businessman Paul Westwood that President Mugabe and Youth, Indigenization and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere had authorized them to take a 50 percent stake in his company, Noshio Investments Limited. The government is currently debating regulations to implement the 2007 Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Act.

Makone and Mutasa could not be reached. An MDC official said Makone will speak tomorrow.

London-based Zimbabwean lawyer Julius Mutyambizi-Dewa commented that if the police account is true, Makone should apologize to her party and the people for attempting to subvert justice.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, meanwhile, was meeting in South Africa late Friday with the standing committee of his MDC formation in what a party source called a strategic caucus.

Party officials were unwilling to release details of agenda. But sources said the Pretoria session included MDC Secretary General and Finance Minister Tendai Biti and other senior Tsvangirai MDC officials.

The meeting follows a reshuffle last week of the Cabinet portfolios held by the MDC formation. Mr. Tsvangirai was criticized for some of the changes he made - in particular his selection of Makone.

Tsvangirai MDC formation spokeswoman Thabitha Khumalo declined to comment beyond saying the meeting was called to review party business.

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