By Leopold Munhende
NORTON MP, Temba Mliswa says he sometimes breaks down each time he recalls the difficult time he went through when former police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri sent his subordinates to arrest him 70 times on trumped-up charges.
Chihuri was police boss until late former President Robert Mugabe was toppled in 2017.
He immediately disappeared from the public eye soon after and is now reported to be in self-imposed exile in Malawi. He was replaced by Godwin Matanga.
However, Mliswa, a former Zanu PF Mashonaland West chairperson, says he went through hardship for some years as he was continuously arrested on the orders of Chihuri on charges of corruption, theft and assault.
“One of the worst times of my life was being accused by Chihuri of corruption. He was then working with Paul Westwood and I was arrested over 70 times,” said Mliswa at a press conference held in Harare last week.
Westwood is the former owner of a Karoi farm that Mliswa occupied at the height of the controversial government-backed land reform programme.
“It is one of the saddest moments of my life, sometimes I cry but God…It was one of the most emotional moments of my life.
“One day I will talk about it, it is my most emotional part that people asked me why I was still in Zanu PF. I was arrested more times in Zanu PF than outside Zanu PF. When I left Zanu PF, I was never arrested,” the outspoken politician said.
“Chihuri was the toughest police officer then, he had officers and magistrates to ensure that if I intended to corrupt anyone I will not. He instilled fear in them.
“My arrest of having stolen cattle is well known and the whites came to the courts and said Temba paid for the cows, that was just persecution by Chihuri. I was said to have beaten (Sarah) Mahoka, arrested and was acquitted. I was arrested that I had AK47s (rifles) at my farm, but again, I was acquitted.”
Mahoka was once influential in the Zanu PF women’s league.
Mliswa said, on the orders of Chihuri, he was moved from one station to the other in the middle of the night in leg-irons and he sometimes cries and when he remembers the ordeals.
“I used to be moved from one police station to the other, one court to the other, in the middle of the night I would be shackled and the next thing I am taken to Marimba.
“It is the most emotional part of my life which I have never told anyone because of this white man who bribed Chihuri so they could get cars from that company.”
Mliswa, then Hurungwe MP, was expelled from the ruling party in 2015 when Zanu PF’s factional wars imploded, claiming the scalps of then State and party vice president Joice Mujuru and a host of bigwigs.
He went on to stand as an independent MP for Norton and has been the legislator for the area since 2016.