By Peter Bolder|
Mystery surrounded the whereabouts of senior minister for presidential affairs and Zanu PF politburo member Didymus Mutasa as the party’s congress got underway Tuesday.
State propaganda sheet, the Herald, claimed Mutasa had been taken ill with hypertension last Thursday and was flown to South Africa for treatment.
However, the paper’s claims could not be verified independently. The Herald has a long history of publishing lies to aid president Robert Mugabe’s regime and has been used to cover up a long chain of state murders of the dictator’s opponents since 1980.
Mutasa became Mugabe’s target after he aligned himself with a Zanu PF faction led by vice president Joice Mujuru. Ex-guerilla Mujuru was leading the race to succeed the ailing, 91 year-old despot until her campaign was destroyed by false claims in the Herald that she was planning a coup.
Human rights groups have demanded access to Mutasa to ascertain his condition but the request has been rejected by the government, which also refused to issue an official statement.
“Numerous ministers, army generals and other officials have been murdered by the regime for crossing Mugabe. People have every reason to fear the worst. Unless and until Mutasa, Goche and Mujuru are presented to the media, the dark speculation will continue,” said political analyst Chris Mitchell.
In the same Tuesday edition of the Herald, the notoriously untruthful paper claimed labour minister Nicholas Goche was in intensive care in hospital, suffering from ‘hypertension’. In fact, Goche was poisoned shortly after a politburo meeting at which Mugabe openly called him ‘wizard’ and falsely accused him of hiring hitmen to assassinate him. Goche denied the charges, labelling them a ‘smear campaign’.
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