FINANCE deputy minister Terence Mukupe has found himself in fresh trouble after he allegedly assaulted the wife of NewsDay journalist, Blessed Mhlanga − Florence − before he allegedly stole her mobile phone.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE
Mukupe and Mhlanga had gone to a State radio station to debate over a story in which the minister was quoted as having said the military would not allow MDC-T leader, Nelson Chamisa to take the levers of power if he wins the forthcoming elections.
According to Mhlanga, the minister accused the scribe of being paid to soil his image by writing about his controversial remarks.
The two exchanged harsh words on air, forcing the deputy minister to abandon the programme before he threatened to assault the reporter, saying he wanted to “teach him a lesson”.
After being restrained by his aides, Mhlanga alleges that Mukupe went for the journalist’s wife who had taken her phone to record the fracas that was ensuing.
“His aides held him as he came towards me saying I needed to be taught a lesson. It was at this time that my wife captured the moments of madness on her phone. Mukupe then charged at my wife grabbed her left hand and started wrestling the phone away from her. He was assisted by his security aides,” Mhlanga said in a police report made at Highlands Police Station under case number, RRB3533752.
Mhlanga alleged that Mukupe stole his wife’s phone as she had recorded video evidence of the deputy minister charging towards him.
“The deputy minister took the phone after tearing her jacket and started shouting, daring us to report the matter to whoever we wished,” Mhlanga said.
The minister is not new to public violence tendencies as early this year he was fined for assaulting his ministry’s finance director, 58-year-old Ignatius Mvere, for allegedly giving him a “paltry $910 travel allowance”.
Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa)-Zimbabwe director, Tabani Moyo said Mukupe’s actions were an impediment to the work of journalists.
“We condemn this action and call upon the police to ensure that this case is investigated upon without fear or favour as journalism work is a constitutional issue which is provided for under section 61 of the supreme law. We abhor the practise by some politicians to take the law into their hands and start to attack journalist. This is bad and irrational,” Moyo said.
Zimbabwe National Editors’ Forum president, Njabulo Ncube said President Emmerson Mnangagwa should fire Mukupe as his “wayward behaviour” was betraying him.
“His actions on a weekly basis do not dovetail the mantra by Mnangagwa that Zimbabwe is open for business and that he has broken from the past. Mukupe’ behaviour give credence to assertion that it is all rhetoric that Zimbabwe is open for business,” Ncube said.