Zanu PF youth league deputy secretary Lewis Matutu lashed out at opponents on Saturday, hours after he was detained at a police station for several hours for allegedly assaulting a police officer.
Matutu was arrested on Friday night after attempting to force his way into a bar in Zvishavane where Selmor Mtukudzi was performing without paying.
His lawyer described the incident as a “misunderstanding” and said Matutu was released without charge.
The 33-year-old has now lashed out at Deputy Industry Minister Raj Modi, accusing him of bribing police officers. He also claimed that he was under “serious attack” – seeking to link his arrest to the Zanu PF youth league’s anti-corruption crusade which has implicated several senior party officials.
“Deputy minister of industry and commerce demands USD on his businesses, pays police officers for protection and police in Zvishavane are making a lot of money out of it, NO TO CORRUPTION!” Mathuthu said in a tweet on Saturday morning.
He added in another: “I’m under serious attack but I will never back off.”
Matutu appeared to be under the impression that the bar where the incident took place is owned by Modi, but sources in Zvishavane have told ZimLive that it is in fact owned by a woman only identified as Mafukidze.
Police officers who were hired to keep the peace at the Mtukudzi concert refused to let Matutu in without paying, resulting in an altercation at the end of which police say an officer was assaulted by the youth league boss.
Matutu was released under unclear circumstances in the early hours of Saturday after his lawyer, Tichaona Chivasa, arrived at the police station to negotiate his release.
Police sources say Chivasa claimed Matutu had been injured by tight handcuffs and begged police to release him so that he attends a graduation ceremony at which he is receiving an MBA from Great Zimbabwe University on Saturday.
“The lawyer said it would cause great embarrassment to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is officiating at the graduation ceremony, if the Zanu PF youth league boss were to miss the event. The use of Mnangagwa’s name appeared to have done the trick and he was released, although police said they would pursue the matter after the graduation,” the police source added.
Chivasa told ZimLive by phone from Zvishavane that he had been called to the police station by Matutu.
“Yes I legally assisted him. There was a misunderstanding between him and the police. He was released into my custody without a charge being preferred,” Chivasa said.
Asked if it was true Matutu had tried to enter a concert venue without paying, the lawyer replied: “I don’t know about that, but what I can confirm is that he wanted to get into a Selmor Mtukudzi show leading to a misunderstanding. I was only invited to the police station after the event and no charges were pursued.”
It is common practice for Zanu PF officials to demand services and special privileges without paying.
The Zanu PF youth league has recently embarked on a campaign of publicly naming government and party officials it claims are corrupt. The crusade has divided Zanu PF with those at the receiving end of the accusations demanding that the youth league be reined in, while others have gone to court claiming defamation.