Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Temba Mliswa is the tip of a gigantic antheap

By Cathy Buckle

When businessman Temba Mliswa was arrested and charged a couple of weeks ago for allegedly seizing shares worth US$1 million in a local company, our eyebrows went up. Having been right up there at the top of the indigenous empowerment actors, Mliswa had obviously stepped on someone’s toes. Was this the beginning of something big, we wondered, could it really be possible that Zanu PF were going to bring down one of their own?

A big fuss ensued as one of the others accused in the case was Martin Mutasa, the son of Presidential Affairs Minister Didymus Mutasa. Newly appointed MDC co Home Affairs Minister Theresa Makoni went to the aid of Minister Mutasa and that caused even more of a stir and the worms have continued pouring out of the can ever since.

Moments after being released on bail, Mliswa was arrested again; more charges had been raised and he was taken back into custody. This time the charges related to farms and involve generators, tractors, bulldozers, trucks and cattle. Was someone finally going to be held to account for the decade long looting of assets, livestock and equipment from commercial farms we wondered?

At the earliest opportunity, Mliswa started squealing. In the brand new independent daily paper, Newsday, came the tantalizing headlines: ‘Mliswa spills the beans… implicates Chihuri, Chiwenga.’ The former being Zimbabwe’s Commissioner of Police, the latter being the wife of the commander of the Defence Forces.The next day NewsDay’s front page was even juicier: “Chihuri threatens Temba Mliswa.”

At the time of writing there are apparently more than 70 charges hanging over Mliswa’s head and possibly more to come. The real question is whether the sudden rash of charges against Temba Mliswa is a serious case of police investigation into the looting of farms or if dirty politics is really behind this matter.

The most famous, or infamous statement used by the police for not investigating incidents and reports from farmers for the last decade is : “it is political.” Behind these three little words are hidden hundreds of thousands of reports from farmers. Reports that involve illegal entry, breaking and entry, theft, stock theft, malicious damage, abduction, extortion, beating, arson, rape, murder and many, many more.

Just one lawyer interviewed on SW Radio Africa said that he personally had over 600 cases relating to farms that have been pending for over five years. Temba Mliswa is the tip of a gigantic antheap. An antheap that is festering underground, hot and humid and crammed with a seething mass of criminals, small, big and very big. Is their day finally coming?

Until next week, thanks for reading, love cathy.  Copyright cathy buckle 17th July 2010.