Tsvangirai Minister In Hot Water Over Detained Mugabe Minister's Son

Theresa Makone, (above) of the MDC-Tsvangirai and now co-Minister of Home Affairs in Zimbabwe's Coalition Government, ganged up with her relative, the ZANU PF Minister in charge of the Secret Police to "intimidate" police officers and demand the release of the ZANU PF Minister's son, who is in police custody for invading and grabbing a white-owned company. He and an accomplice, Themba Mliswa, who is a nephew of the ZANU PF Minister, are still behind bars, with the Zimbabwe police making public complaints through the state media that the two ministers' actions are "tantamount to defeating the course of justice". The ZANU PF Minister says that is nonsense, while Makone has refused to comment.

Harare, Zimbabwe, 05 July 2010

Theresa Makone, the newly-installed co-Minister of Home Affairs in the Coalition Government has already started using her new powers: to demand the release of the detained son of a senior ZANU PF Minister.

Makone is wife to the Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister's office, Ian Makone. She and her husband are seen as very close to PM Tsvangirai. The two have even been accused of being part of the Tsvangirai "kitchen cabinet" that makes decisions in private and imposes them on the party.

Makone ganged up with Didymus Mutasa, the ZANU PF (President Mugabe) Minister for Presidential Affairs to go and demand the release of Mutasa's son, who is locked up together with Themba Mliswa, a Mutasa nephew, over an incident in which they invaded a company and forcibly took over 50% shareholding in it.

The white owner of the company was barred from the premises of his own company and he says "bouncers" were hired by Mutasa's son and Mliswa to enforce the ban.

Zimbabwe police have complained that the behaviour of Mutasa and Makone was tantamount to defeating the course of justice and they want action taken against both of them.

Makone, apparently, is related to the ZANU PF Minister of Presidential Affairs (and in charge of the Secret Police of Zimbabwe), so this was more a personal thing that a party (MDC-T) mission.

Now, the MDC-Tsvangirai itself is now up in arms over Makone's interference in the matter. Senior members are quoted by the local media as saying that Makone has brought the opposition party into disrepute.

That she has.

They question why she is not as zealous in ensuring that MDC-T members who are in jail are released and also ask what her actions will mean to ordinary members who have languished in prison without any protest from Tsvangirai's party.

In the same breath, these senor figures also express the fear that whole matter ill be swept under the carpet because the Makones are Tsvangirai confidants and friends. The more loose-tongued in the MDC leadership have even revisited claims that first surfaced in 2008, that there is an improper relationship between Theresa and Tsvangirai, although I suspect this is the only the talk of the Zimbabwean mind that says no man can be close friends with a woman unless there is something else behind it.

With Makone being so close to Tsvangirai and having only just taken over at the Police Ministry, it is unlikely that any action will be taken against her. The tongue-waggers are correct: nothing will be done to Makone.

But this will not stop MDC-T supporters celebrating rumours of her being disciplined. They will remain just that.

Mutasa, father of the man behind bars and a Mugabe favourite, says the police are talking "nonsense" in blaming him for "defeating the course of justice." He says he went to the police station only as a "father visiting his son".

In any other country, the Prime Minister and President would have received two resignation letters last week from the Ministers, but this is Zimbabwe.



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