Tsvangirai Member of Parliament Arrested On Highly Improbable Charges

Marondera MP and MDC Secretary for Welfare, Ian Kay 9above in blue shirt) is in police custody after police raided his home. They said they had a warrant to search for dirty magazines, weapons and drugs. In the end, they say they found expired drugs in his home, which he was giving away to his constituents because government hospitals have nothing of the sort.

Harare, Zimbabwe, 06 June 2010

Marondera farmer and MDC-Tsvangirai MP, Ian Kay, has been arrested by Zimbabwe police who raided his home in the extremely posh Harare suburb of Helensvale (where Mugabe also lives now in his private mansion after abandoning State House and turning it into an office).

The police say that they were looking for "offensive material", including pornography, drugs and even weapons of war.

There is no word on whether they found any titillating stuff at the MPs house, but the fact that they have arrested him is very telling. Police have him at Harare Central on charges of distributing expired medicine (which he says he was donating to his constituency, because the hospitals have no medication to speak of).

Of course, there is more to this than first meets the eye.

First, sources within ZANU PF are clear why this had to be done, even if they admit it only off-record: "After using sanctions to destroy the health system, these Rhodesians want to import medicine to give to people so that the MDC is seen as caring for the people while ZANU PF is painted as failing to run the hospitals."

They argue that he should have given the medication to clinics and hospitals through the Ministry of Health, which is controlled by the MDC. But the police claim he was not doing this because the medication has expired and would not be accepted.

It is ironic that this arrest coincides exactly with his previous arrest, when he was moved from one police station to the other in the Mrewa area and his constituency in order to deny him access to any supporters or lawyers. It was also around 4 June last year that his story was being reported and tracked.

That the police made the current warrant valid for such a wide array of offences betrays the fact that they were determined to nail the man. It is the classic style of throwing as much mud as possible, secure in the knowledge that some will stick and will take time to clean off.

This arrest is linked to two issues: first the acquittal and subsequent messy handling of the appeal process by the Attorney General (who, by the way, has now taken to giving opinion to the courts in favour of Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe!) in the case of Roy Bennett, the MDC-Tsvangirai Treasurer-General charged with plotting to overthrow "The Solution".

Second, it is also part of the process of trying to emasculate the MDC and is the clearest indication yet that Mugabe us determined to hold elections in March or April next year.

The campaigning starts now and part of that process is ensuring that the MDC is deprived of the people within its ranks who would be able to fundraise for the party.

By distributing the medication, Kay was seen to have already started campaigning.

Roy Bennett, you will also recall, faces another charge at the moment apart from his terrorism charges: that of keeping maize (corn) illegally at his farm. (Again, the motive being to make sure he did not use the food to buy loyalty and votes in the area where he is almost certain to contest again.

As I mentioned in a post on this blog last year in February, Kay, it was said within ZANU PF, had been implicated by Gandi Mudzingwa as part of a group of officials securing resources for the very crime that Roy Bennett was (and is still being) tried for.

Apart from wanting to humiliate Tsvangirai, showing him up as a powerless Prime Minister, the idea is to also cripple the MDC organisationally. With party officials in government, distracted by government business, too busy enjoying the trappings of office (flying off to all corners of the world etc), the few heavyweights left in the party to look after party business will find it very tough going as Mugabe and ZANU PF prepare for elections.

Curiously, Morgan Tsvangirai, perhaps realising that opposing the holding of early elections would be futile since he has no power to stop Mugabe calling a General Election, has now also joined the ZANU PF chorus calling for elections in 2011.

Mugabe would have preferred to have them earlier, as early as 2010 and he was only talked out of it by Jacob Zuma.

Mugabe's intelligence, which told him in 2008 that he was going to lose the election or at least come up level with Tsvangirai, now tells him that he could actually win the election if it is called next year, with the acute economic problems that made everyday life having largely been mitigated by the adoption of the dollar.

The strategy for ZANU PF for the 2011 has already been leaked: Mugabe and senior leaders will only repeat at rally after rally that the United States dollar (or multi-currency system as Mugabe prefers to put it, avoiding naming the Imperialist dollar) will remain the monetary policy of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabweans, you will be surprised to know, simply care about this and little else, used as they are to measuring political success or acceptability by how much they fill their bellies.

What is certain after all is said and done is this: Kay, Bennett and others within the MDC will be dealing with court cases and other such distractions until new elections are called.

It is called defeat by other means and the process started the day Morgan Tsvangirai agreed to become Prime Minister.



  1. Oh Denford, your headline may be misleading or indicating some bias, what makes the charges highly improbable? There is this tendency of refering to any arrest of any person in opposition as trumped up.There is nothing wrong with taking sides especially when one sees an injustice, but it should be on genuine,innocent and factual grounds. We read in the papers recently that some drugs which Ian Kay had donated in Marondera had been recalled, after they were discovered to have expired, that included some multi- vitamins for pregnant women.That story broke out before the Police arrested him, and it was in the papers. We did not see any efforts from Ian Kay to deny or rectify anything contained in that story.They were many ways for him to do that, but he did not. The Police moved in and arrested him, what then makes the charges highly improbable? The hospitals do not have drugs, but expired drugs are not what they need.
    Why don't we wait for Ian Kay to have his day in court, and hear what defence he has to offer, may be he has no case to answer. The courts will decide. The Police arrest on the basis of reasonable grounds of suspicion that an offence has been committed.If you Denford were a cop were you not going to arrest him on these basis.
    Of course Zanu Pf must be over the moon about the arrest, this is common with everyone, if your enemies or rivals fall on hard times , you enjoy it,or you shed crocodile tears. If Ian Kay was Zanu Pf, MDC was also going to be over the moon.I personally think these drugs were donated to Ian Kay a long time ago, but he was keeping them, waiting for the right time, that is time for campaigning, then they expired whilst he was still waiting for the right time, that will get him maximum political mileage.These politicians should not play politics with people's lives.
    Lets wait for Ian Kay's day in court, and examine his defence.


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