MDC Alliance Bulawayo Province has suspended its provincial women’s assembly chairperson, Tendai Masotsha, for her alleged role in the abduction of Tawanda Muchehiwa.
The province has also suspended Masotsha from all the party’s affiliated social media online groups.
Muchehiwa, a 22 year old journalism student and nephew to ZimLive Editor, Mduduzi Mathuthu was abducted July 30, 2020 – at gunpoint – by suspected state agents.
This was the day before the supposed July 31 nationwide protests that had been called for by Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume against economic mismanagement and corruption by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration.
Narrating his three day torture ordeal, Muchehiwa indicated something amiss about Masotsha’s involvement in his abduction.
Muchehiwa said before he was abducted he received a call from Masotsha, who informed him that she had flyers that could be used in the protests the next day and they met up while he was running errands with his cousins.
“She parked her vehicle and jumped into our BMW, carrying only a handbag,” he wrote, adding Masotsha sat directly behind him.
This was just before Muchehiwa was abducted after one the abductors “shouted “wasungwa” (you are under arrest) handcuffed and forcefully dragged him out of the vehicle that was now surrounded by several vehicles full of armed men.
In his account Muchehiwa queried why he was tortured over some flyers that purportedly came into the vehicle with Masotsha.
“One told me that the MDC Alliance women’s chairlady for Bulawayo was “innocent and is sleeping comfortably at her home.” [I learnt after my release that when Amandlenkosi and Advent were taken to Central Police Station, Masotsha stayed there a few hours and was let go leaving my two cousins]” he wrote.
After this revelation, Masotsha’s role in Muchehiwa’s abduction came into the spotlight with opinion leaders calling on the MDC Alliance to investigate her.
In an interview with CITE, MDC Alliance Bulawayo Provincial Spokesperson, Swithern Chirowodza, confirmed the party had suspended Masotsha and was finalising its investigations on her alleged involvement in Muchehiwa and other party members’ abduction.
“After taking note of journalism student, Tawanda Muchehiwa’s statement published on https://t.co/V5HBONbLZK, the alleged participation of Tendai Masotsha in Tawanda’s abduction and also the abduction and torture of our Party members in Bulawayo by suspected state security agents, the MDC Alliance Bulawayo Province has suspended and opened investigations into her involvement in the matter. A concise statement would be issued in the next 48 hours,” he said.
Chirowodza said the party has also requested all members to remove Masotsha from all party affiliated social media groups.
“This request is also extended to the Party’s National Council. This decision, taken after careful consideration, will assist the Party to finalise investigations on the matter,” the provincial spokesperson said.
Reached for a comment, Masotsha told CITE she had not been informed officially about her suspension but emphasised she was also a victim.
“Yimihlolo leyi (I am actually surprised by all this). I am also a victim in this. I haven’t been told about the suspension officially but had seen news on the suspension on twitter. There is nothing I can do but my heart is free, I am clean and not involved in any of this,” she said.
Masotsha said the investigations would clear her name.
“If the investigations are not polluted and are proper, they will show I am also a victim,” she added.
Meanwhile, sources within the MDC Alliance said Bulawayo province has recommended her expulsion from the party.
“Party members want her to be removed as the party’s integrity is under stake. We have written to the National Council asking them to expel her immediately from the party. We cannot continue working with someone who was alleged to have involved in abduction and torture,” the sources said.