BULAWAYO – The MDC Alliance on Sunday suspended the chairperson of its women’s wing in Bulawayo province while it investigates claims that she is spying for the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).
The move follows a July 30 incident when student activist Tawanda Muchehiwa was abducted by state security agents while in Masotsha’s company and tortured for three days.
Suspicions are that she gave the operatives their location, which she denies.
MDC Alliance spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said Masotsha was facing “very serious allegations.”
“The outcome of the investigation will be communicated publicly and expeditiously once the investigations and internal processes are complete in accordance with due process,” Mahere said in a statement.
Mahere apologised for the “perceived delay in communicating on this matter”, insisting that the MDC Alliance was keen to avoid “revictimising our member.”
Masotsha and Muchehiwa, the nephew of ZimLive editor Mduduzi Mathuthu, were sitting in a BMW on July 30, the eve of planned anti-government protests, when the vehicle was surrounded by over a dozen state agents driving in at least five vehicles.
Muchehiwa was bundled into an Isuzu truck and later transferred into a Ford Ranger. He was blindfolded and driven to a location where he was tortured for three days, accused of a plot to unseat President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Masotsha was taken to the main police station in Bulawayo with two other nephews of Mathuthu, but she was freed without charge while one of the journalist’s nephews Advent Mathuthu was charged with incitement of violence over flyers which prosecutors say were found in the vehicle.
The flyers allegedly read ‘Zanu PF Must Go’, with several demands including that ‘Mr Mnangagwa and his Cabinet must resign’, ‘The military must not interfere with politics’, ‘National Transitional Authority government’, ‘All captured institutions must be rebuilt’ and ‘We will not leave the streets until Zanu PF is gone.’
The lack of charges for Masotsha, who reportedly brought the flyers into the vehicle, has given rise to suspicions that she was an informer for the state agents.
Masotsha on Saturday told ZimLive that she was being unfairly targeted.
She said: “When the police pretended to release me, the moment I stepped outside the police station there were armed men waiting for me.
“They bundled me into a Toyota Quantum and drove me into the bush where they beat me black and blue. They dropped me off near my house at Four Winds at around 4AM, and I could barely walk.”
She said she had filed a police report about her abduction and had also been seen by a doctor.
Rights groups have accused President Mnangagwa of launching an “unprecedented crackdown” on dissent which has seen dozens of his critics arrested in recent weeks.
Jacob Ngarivhume, the organiser of the July 31 protests which were foiled by security forces who shut down the country citing Covid-19 restrictions, has spent over a month in prison with the journalist Hopewell Chin’ono accused of incitement of public violence.