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Mphoko back home; Moyo claims ex-VP detained

01/12/2017 00:00:00
by UK Bureau
 
Back home ... Former vice president Phelekezela Mphoko
 
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FORMER vice president Phelekezela Mphoko returned home Friday from neighbouring Botswana where he had been holed up since mid-last month when the military took over power in Harare.

Political ally and former higher education minister Professor Jonathan Moyo claimed that Mphoko was immediately detained by the military despite government assurances that he would not be arrested.

Moyo’s allegation could not be verified Friday night.

State media confirmed the former vice president’s dramatic crossing into Zimbabwe through Plumtree Border Post where his convoy reportedly performed a back and forth between the two countries as he tried to evade the waiting media.

According to the Chronicle newspaper, Mphoko arrived at the border post just after 1300hours aboard a Zimbabwe immigration department minibus and accompanied by Botswana immigration officials.

Also travelling with the former VP was wife, Laurinda, son, Siqokoqela, and seven other family members. The family completed immigration formalities and crossed into Zimbabwe just after 1400 hours.

Mphoko’s return comes after government officials this week revealed that he had reached out to president Emmerson Mnangagwa and been assured that he was free to come home.

Information ministry permanent secretary George Charamba told state media that Mphoko spoke to Mnangagwa on Tuesday.

“Former Vice President Mphoko spoke to the President and was assured that he is free to return to Zimbabwe and contribute to the rebuilding of the nation,” said Charamba.

“Like any other Zimbabwean, he is free to come home and assist in growing the economy and the country. Hopefully, he will be making his way home soon.”

However, Moyo claimed on Twitter that Mphoko was detained by the military upon his return.

Said the former Zanu PF politburo member; “Impeccable sources in Plumtree say that the Botswana Immigration authorities have today handed over former VP Phelekezela Mphoko to the Zimbabwe Defence Forces who are said to be holding him.

“Why this is happening after assurances that he was free to return is mind-boggling!”

Moyo and Mphoko were part of the G40 Zanu PF faction which scattered after the military took over power on November 15.

Mphoko had left Zimbabwe for Japan on government business a day earlier. Fearing arrest, he did not return to Harare but flew to Botswana instead.



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The two, along with former local government minister Saviour Kasukuwere were believed to be among the officials targeted for detention after the military placed then president Robert Mugabe under house arrest.

Moyo and Kasukuwere’s whereabouts remain unclear although they are thought to have been given safe passage out of the country as part of the deal which secured Mugabe’s resignation after 37 years in power.


 
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