Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has dismissed claims by his counterpart, Phelekezela Mphoko, that cabinet ministers could only be arrested with the approval of the president and advised lawmakers to approach the police over his interference with investigations.
Mphoko, the other vice president, made the remark in support of Jonathan Moyo, the Higher and Tertiary Education minister who the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) recently attempted to arrest in connection with fraud.
According to the ZACC charge sheet, Moyo connived in defrauding the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (ZIMDEF) that falls under his ministry of close to $500,000.
Moyo has admitted to the fraud, but insists that he must not be charged because he took the money to fund Zanu PF events and his Tsholotsho constituency where he donated bicycles.
However, Mnangagwa, responding to questions in parliament on Wednesday, said only the president was immune to prosecution and all other citizens, among them vice presidents, could be arrested if there were sufficient grounds to suspect they had committed a crime.
“…No one has immunity except the President. Everyone else in this country is fair game. They are not above the law. There is no one above the law. If (you are) aware that someone did not follow the law, they should go to the powers that carry out this work and then they will be able to conduct their duty,” said Mnangagwa.
Mphoko was recently in the eye of a storm for visiting Avondale Police Station in Harare and ordering the release of senior executives from the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (ZINARA) whose arrested had been initiated by ZACC.
Mnangagwa advised lawmakers and citizens that they must report such cases as Mphoko’s interference with the police to the law enforcement agency.
The co-vice president added that it was not government policy for Moyo to divert ZIMDEF funds towards political party activities.
Mphoko has been linked to a Zanu PF faction, Generation 40 (G40) to which Moyo reportedly belongs.
The G40 outfit is fiercely opposed to another camp led by Mnangagwa.
There is no love lost between Mnangagwa and Mphoko, who publicly dismissed the claim that he was junior to his counterpart and vowed during a rally that a person from the Karanga tribe where his rival comes from would succeed President Robert Mugabe.
The new differences between the two vice presidents come just weeks after Mugabe told Zanu PF supporters during a women’s wing meeting in Harare that the party leadership was united.