By Mugove Tafirenyika
The curious case in which opposition leader Nelson Chamisa has been accused of raping a 39-year-old woman (name withheld for ethical reasons) is floundering after police confirmed yesterday that the complainant may indeed be suffering from mental health problems, the Daily News can report.
As a result, authorities are waiting for direction from psychiatric experts, before they decide on what course of action they should take on the case — which opposition supporters claim is part of a sinister plot by the ruling Zanu PF to destabilise the MDC ahead of its crucial congress in May.
Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga told the Daily News yesterday that although they had received the rape complaint from the woman based in Norton, they had moved to demand medical reports on her mental condition, after relatives said her behaviour was erratic.
However, this did not mean that police had dismissed the case — but neither had they contacted Chamisa because “everything was now hinged on the requested medical report”.
“Yes, we received a complaint which we are investigating, but we have also been told that the woman who made the complaint has mental problems.
“We have requested for official papers confirming that she indeed has mental problems. We should be getting those papers sometime tomorrow (today). Check with us by the end of day then,” Matanga said. It is known that the complainant — who was once based overseas — left her home in Norton on Thursday saying that she was going to Harare.
But along the way, she went to Norton Police Station and filed a report of rape against Chamisa, making sensational claims that she had been sexually abused by him in November last year at around 10pm, when she was returning from an evening jog.
She also claimed that Chamisa had accosted her at her residential gate, before he allegedly proceeded to rape her inside the house.
In the meantime, it has also since emerged that the woman is married to a State security agent who is based in Canada.
It is also claimed that the complainant has previously and unsuccessfully filed rape allegations against her husband while they stayed together in Canada.
She was apparently subsequently forced to return to Zimbabwe due to her erratic behaviour linked to mental health problems.
Meanwhile, the MDC said yesterday that it suspected that Zanu PF and the government were involved in the rape claims to “decapitate Chamisa politically”.
“We have, surprisingly, not been informed of this investigation. These accusations against our president are thus a dime a dozen (of little value). “In any event, we hope someone is not trying to stigmatise mental illness to cover up a botched and hare-brained smear campaign.
We are focused on the task at hand to conduct congress and to get national dialogue going, to reclaim the people’s victory in the presidential election,” MDC spokesperson Jacob Mafume said.
Last week, the MDC claimed that Zanu PF was trying to destabilise the party ahead of its crucial elective congress in May — where a new substantive party leader will be chosen to lead the country’s largest opposition outfit for the next five years.
This was after mischievous Zanu PF “agents provocateurs” backed the party’s well-regarded secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora to beat the popular Chamisa in the fast-approaching polls.
This, in turn, saw paranoid MDC senior leaders openly accusing the ruling party of working frantically to destabilise the opposition party again — following a tweet by Zanu PF deputy youth leader Lewis Matutu, who “predicted” the fall of Chamisa come May.
MDC vice chairperson Tendai Biti, whom many are tipping to contest for one of the party’s vice president posts, angrily reacted to suggestions that Mwonzora may emerge as the new party leader after the elective congress. He said the party would not accept to be led by “a ruling party chosen half-wit”.
“We will reject any nincompoop given to us by Zanu PF. We already have a candidate in … Chamisa. So, we will not tolerate that.
“Our duty is to protect the legacy of our dear leader Morgan Tsvangirai and we know with Chamisa we will be able to do that,” Biti thundered.
The MDC youth assembly also claimed that Zanu PF wanted a “weaker candidate” to emerge as the party’s leader in May “for obvious reasons” — vowing that this would not happen.
“It is saddening that Zanu PF wants to give us a leader and we know why.
We are however, clear as youths and other organs of the party that we have Chamisa as our leader and the decision is ours not Zanu PF’s,” Lovemore Chinoputsa, the MDC youth assembly secretary-general, said. Matutu had earlier thrown the cat among the pigeons when he poisonously said Chamisa would receive a heavy shellacking from Mwonzora at the May congress, because “he did not have support in the MDC party structures”.
“Mwonzora is likely to become the new MDC … president because the majority of Chamisa’s hooligans are not in the structures of their party and they don’t form part of the congress delegates,” Matutu said in his controversial tweet.
The charismatic Chamisa took over the party’s reins in hotly-disputed circumstances in February last year, following the death of the MDC’s revered founding president Tsvangirai — who lost his valiant battle against colon cancer on Valentine’s Day, and soon after he had elevated the youthful politician to the party’s presidium.
The 41-year-old was accused of having allegedly used his then assumed closeness to Tsvangirai’s widow, Elizabeth, to torpedo the ambitions of the likes of Elias Mudzuri and Thokozani Khupe.
A titanic leadership battle subsequently ensued in the party, which eventually led to Khupe forming a breakaway faction which went on to perform dismally in last year’s elections.
Chamisa ultimately prevailed over his party competitors after a consultative meeting of the MDC, which was held at its Harare headquarters — and which was attended by 639 delegates from 210 party districts — endorsed him as Tsvangirai’s successor and the party’s presidential candidate in the 2018 polls. DailyNews