Former Vice President Phelekezela Mphoho who has been in exile since the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) took over government is reported to have been handed over by the Botswana authorities to the ZDF who are holding him despite assurance by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in their conversation that he will be safe when he returns.
Mr Mphoko, a member of the G40 cabal targeted by the ZDF’s Operation Restore Legacy, left Zimbabwe on an official visit to Japan on November 14, a day before the army stepped in.
The then Vice President, who is also referred to as ‘Mboko’ by his critics, did not return to Zimbabwe but instead, flew to Botswana where he has been a guest of the Government there.
Highly placed sources said the Botswana government had given him up to 1 December to leave their country and return to Zimbabwe but the former VP had been reluctant to do so fearing arrest for corruption-related crimes.
Mr Mphoko had been living in a State residence in Gaborone but had to return home after reaching out to President Emmerson Mnangagwa and getting the necessary assurances that he was free to come back to Zimbabwe.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, Mr George Charamba, said Mr Mphoko had spoken to President Mnangagwa by telephone and asked to return home.
“Former Vice President Mphoko spoke to the President and was assured that he is free to return to Zimbabwe and contribute to the rebuilding of the nation. Like any other Zimbabwean, he is free to come home and assist in growing the economy and the country. Hopefully, he will be making his way home soon,” he said.
His detention by soldiers has been revealed by former Higher, tertiary, science and technology minister Jonathan Moyo through a tweet.
“Impeccable sources in Plumtree say that the Botswana Immigration authorities have today handed over former VP Phelekezela Mphoko to the Zimbabwe Defence Forces who are said to be holding him. Why this is happening after assurances that he was free to return is mind boggling!” Moyo twitted.
Mr Mphoko was among members of the G40 group who were expelled from the ruling zanu-pf party for engaging in activities meant to destabilise the Government. The party also recalled him from the position of Vice President and Second Secretary over allegations of being divisive, a member of the G40 cabal, protecting criminals, preaching hate speech and behaving in a manner inconsistent with the office and decorum of the Vice President.
He was recalled on the day the party also recalled former President Mugabe from the position of party First Secretary and President and replaced him with President Mnangagwa, whom the ruling party also reinstated as a Central Committee member.