Mugabe's office 'imposes candidates for party elections': Zanu PF MP

HARARE - A Zanu PF legislator yesterday stunned the court when she said the president’s office plays a hand in imposing candidates to represent the party in elections.

During the on-going trial of businessman-cum-politician Temba Mliswa in Chinhoyi yesterday, Hurungwe East legislator Sarah Mahoka told the court that although her party had not yet asked aspiring candidates to submit their nomination papers, the president’s office had already asked them to do so for vetting purposes.

She was under cross examination from the defence counsel team by Mike Mutsvairo, who is representing Mliswa’s other co-accused.

Asked if she was aware of any other candidates vying to represent the party in Hurungwe West Constituency currently held by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC, Mahoka said she got information from the President’s Office that Mliswa and one Patrick Mabonga were aspiring candidates.

“The party has not yet called for submission of CVs but we have already done so through the office of the president because they asked for the names for vetting. He is the president of both this country and the party and that is how we do it,” said Mahoka.

Mahoka, who constantly deviated from her original evidence-in-chief, accused the police of not properly capturing her statement when she was asked to explain the inconsistencies in her evidence.

She claimed that the defence counsel could have tampered with the statement.

“Ask the police why they did not capture everything that I told them because I signed several papers but they were never read to me. Maybe it is you who have tampered with the papers because I can see they are torn,” said the lawmaker, who on Monday told the court that she was an illiterate Grade 2 dropout.

This prompted Mutsvairo to request for the original statement from the State, which showed that nothing had been doctored. Asked if she knew what appending a signature to a document meant, Mahoka said she was in the dark.

“I don’t even know that putting my signature means I agree with the contents of the document, the police never explained that to me. They are not dead you can always ask them,” she said.

It is the State’s case that on February 22 this year at Zimonja Business Centre in Hurungwe West Constituency, Mliswa and his co-accused persons acted in concert with others who are still on the run and attacked Mahoka and her entourage.

They allegedly used bricks, fists, booted feet to assault the legislator and her driver before deflating two wheels of her car.

Mahoka claims she sustained a broken leg and lost $1 223, an iPhone valued at $800, a digital camera, a Zanu PF beret and identity documents.

Mahoka, who is the Zanu PF women’s league chairperson in Mashonaland West Province, is reportedly pushing to block Mliswa’s candidature in favour of her ally Dorcas Bere.

She, however, denies the allegation and she has told the court that she does not know Bere. - Mugove Tafirenyika

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