Zimbabwe president fires outspoken deputy information minister

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Wednesday fired outspoken deputy information minister Energy Mutodi hours after he insulted three “abducted ” opposition officials in a tweet .

A statement from the presidency did not give reasons for the immediate “ termination of employment ” of Mutodi .

A prominent opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC ) lawmaker and two party officials were originally arrested for protesting over food shortages experienced during the coronavirus lockdown .

The all- female trio were then abducted from the police station by unidentified men and taken out of the capital where they said they were beaten up and sexually assaulted .

They were later dumped by a roadside where they were found by party colleagues and taken to hospital .

In his tweet Mutodi claimed the three opposition officials “ went out for a romantic night to Bindura (a small town) with their lovers , ” a couple of miners .

He said the women were beaten up “when they demanded foreign currency for their services . ”

The incident attracted condemnation from international rights groups and western diplomats .

Heads of mission of the European Union countries and the US based in Harare on Wednesday said they “ expect from the government of Zimbabwe a swift, thorough and credible investigation into the abduction and torture” of the opposition members and two others assaulted in the second city of Bulawayo .

“ The perpetrators of heinous acts of this kind and other human rights violations need to be identified and prosecuted , ” they said in a statement .

The axed deputy minister ’ s latest callous remarks came a week after he was reprimanded for criticising Tanzanian President John Magufuli ’ s handling of the Covid – 19 pandemic.

Mutodi has also been at loggerheads with information minister Monica Mutsvangwa whom he accused of teaming up with her husband to eliminate him .

Last week he tweeted that he was “living in fear” of foreign affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo and the information minister ’ s husband.

Mutodi becomes the second high profile government official to be fired by Mnangagwa , following the removal of former tourism minister Prisca Mupfumira last year .

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