Chamisa rape storm: Party says claims ‘frivolous’, a ‘Ben Menashe’ act

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By Nkosana Dlamini

MDC leader Nelson Chamisa has been accused of rape by a Harare woman who claims the opposition leader “emerged from nowhere” and committed the abuse against her in her Norton home.

Social media was awash Saturday with claims the 41-year-old politician was in the eye of the storm for committing the offence.

MDC spokesperson Jacob Mafume said the party knew nothing about the alleged rape claims but was quick to link everything to an alleged plot to soil the image of his boss who heads for a make or break elective congress May this year.

Media reports Saturday said a Harare woman, who is wife to a Canada based Zimbabwean diplomatic aide, had filed rape allegations against the former Kuwadzana MP.

Police were said to have launched an investigation into the claims by 39-year-old Nyaradzo Nyathi.

Nyathi, according to media reports, is wife of Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) agent Herbert Garikai Nyathi, who is currently on diplomatic service in Canada.

The alleged rape incident, it has been said, is now under crime reference CR15/03/19.

Nyaradzo, who has been linked to mental ailment, was returning from a jog at around 9.45PM on November 8 last year and had just reached their gate when Chamisa allegedly emerged from nowhere, grabbed her and raped her inside her home in Knowe Phase 2, Norton.

Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Canada, Florence Zano Chideya, ordered Nyaradzo to be returned home after her mental health was questioned. Nyaradzo had accused her husband of rape, but he escaped arrest because he enjoys diplomatic immunity.

Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi bizarrely insisted he was only capable of commenting “tomorrow”.

“Currently, I am committed somewhere else. Would you mind phoning me tomorrow?” Nyathi repeatedly said when asked to give a ‘yes or no’ answer on whether the popular opposition leader was indeed being accused of rape.

Chamisa is out on a diplomatic offensive in countries his party has kept secret.

He has remained quiet about the matter on his social media pages.

Mafume said the claims were “frivolous things”.

“We have not seen anything like that yet (allegations),” said the MDC spokesperson.

“Like everyone else, we are just seeing this on social media. We have not heard anything from any police station.

“We are seeing them (allegations) as sideshows on social media. We are currently focused on our congress. These are frivolous things,” Mafume said.

Chamisa’s spokesperson Nkululeko Sibanda, on his part, refused to comment on the matter yet.

However, a top MDC official who requested to remain anonymous described the allegations as a hatchet job.

“It’s a hatchet job,” said the official, who is close to the opposition leader’s bid to emerge party leader at the May congress.

He added, “The agenda is to soil, to undermine and degrade the brand and this has been a plan started immediately after the elections and we got wind of it.”

The MDC politician said the cloud of secrecy that has accompanied the alleged claimed from the police and relevant authorities smacked of a trap in the making.

“We don’t want to fall into a trap,” he said.

“All we are getting are snippets that are in the public domain and some people claiming to be police officers purporting to be giving us inside information on the issue.

“It is an elaborate plot to make sure that President Chamisa is not available for congress.

“Police and Zanu PF must come out clean about their plot. Why is the plot looking so stupid!

“We are back to the Ari Ben Menashe issue, (former Zanu Ndonga leader) Ndabaningi Sithole issue of trying to assassinate Mugabe, we are back (former Vice President) Joshua Nkomo of trying to kill Mugabe. We are in familiar territory.”

Ben Menashe was a controversial Israeli businessman once involved in a Zimbabwe government consultancy deal who sensationally claimed 2004 secretely taping MDC founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the process of hiring him (Ben Menashe) to “eliminate” Mugabe.

The claims ignited a treason trial against the once popular opposition leader who was later cleared of the charges.

Meanwhile, none of government’s garrulous officials has passed any comment about the alleged rape against Chamisa.

Information Deputy Minister Energy Mutodi, who has often delighted in passing snide comments about opponents through his social media pages, could only deny any alleged plot by the Zanu PF led regime to throw banana skins in the wake of a bid by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s biggest opponent to retain his job as opposition chief.

“Government is not worried who emerges the winner at the MDC Congress be it Chamisa or Mwonzora.

“None of the two is capable of overcoming our 2023 ZANU PF candidate President ED Mnangagwa. We have started reviving the economy & the gains are open for everyone to see,” Mutodi twitted.