/ 25 March 2011

Zimbabwe prime minister’s ally arrested again

Zimbabwe Prime Minister's Ally Arrested Again

A Zimbabwean court is ordering an official, who is a close ally of the prime minister, to be held in jail after his second arrest this month on charges of abuse of office.

Energy Minister Elton Mangoma, a founder of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change party, was arrested on Friday over charges that he interfered in a deal to buy equipment for the state’s electricity utility, said defence attorney Beatrice Mtetwa.

He was first arrested on March 10 on allegations he bypassed official procedures to buy petrol from neighbouring South Africa.

Mangoma denies any wrongdoing in both cases that carry a penalty of imprisonment or a fine. After his last arrest, Tsvangirai threatened to pull out of the nation’s shaky two-year power sharing coalition. — Sapa