MDC Alliance Chair Distances Self From Muchehiwa’s Abduction

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By Leopold Munhende

MDC Alliance Bulawayo province women’s assembly chairperson, Tendai Masotsha has pleaded her innocence in a case in which she is being accused of having a hand in the abduction last month of Tawanda Muchehiwa.

Masotsha was in the company Muchehiwa when the later was abducted by suspected armed state agents in Bulawayo last month.

She claimed charges brought against her that she was behind the kidnapping and torture of Muchehiwa at the hands of the state were trumped-up and blamed this on a smear campaign against her by rivals within her MDC Alliance and Zanu PF.

Muchehiwa, a journalism student, was abducted at gunpoint in Bulawayo central business district while in the company of Masotsha organising for the foiled July 31 anti-corruption protests.

He was severely tortured by his captors at an unknown location and suffered kidney failure before being released following a ruling by a High Court judge who ordered his release within 72 hours.

Since Muchehiwa’s abduction, Masotsha has been labelled a sell-out with the former doing little to exonerate her from blame.

However, she told weekend there was no reason for her to snitch on Muchehiwa as he was not even a member of the MDC Alliance.

“I was never part of what happened to Tawanda, I can testify and corroborate what happened to Tawanda but I was never part of it,” she said.

“I have children as old as Tawanda. He is not a threat to my political ambitions; he is not even within our party structures. He is a student activist, there is virtually no reason for me to sell him out. Why would I do it, to what benefit?” she added.

“I have been labelled yet I am innocent, I am not even in any way involved in this and now I do not know what is going to happen to me. I am so disappointed. What I was doing was to actively participate in a demonstration for the people of Zimbabwe.”

Masotsha believed the smear campaign against her emanated from both Zanu PF and the MDC Alliance’s factional fights.

“This is a tricky matter because the challenge here is that we have to realise Zanu PF will never stop trying to divide us as the MDC Alliance. At the same time, we have internal factional fights than those who attempt to fight me directly.

“We have stayed for too long as an opposition party such that there are those who have lost hope and view a parliamentary or council seat as an achievement, some of those people are targeting my position with the hope of getting into parliament through proportional representation.”