While efforts to contact the former investment banker and the police were fruitless yesterday, at least three independent sources confirmed late Wednesday that he had been freed “without any official charge”.
In addition to a Daily News visit to Rhodesville Police Station early evening on Tuesday, a follow-up visit yesterday also confirmed that the lanky and controversial Zanu PF newbie had indeed spent the night at the eastern Harare facility and before being transferred to the Criminal Investigation Department’s law and order department at Harare Central Police Station.
While a number of his co-accused persons were held at Highlands since Tuesday, it is understood that the arrests followed a “land resettlement” meeting in his Mabvuku-Tafara constituency.
Although police spokespersons were unavailable for comment — as their mobile phones went unanswered — it is understood that Mukupe’s group was released after paying fines of $20 or so.
In the absence of Zanu PF head honchos, including party spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo, administration secretary Ignatius Chombo and political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere to comment on the issue, analysts say the youthful legislator had fallen foul of the party’s internecine factional fights.
“He (Mukupe) had rushed to inquire about youths, who had been incarcerated around issues related to land disputes in his constituency, but unbeknown to him, he walked into a political mine-field, if not trap,” said one insider.
“Essentially, this is a carry-over or extension of the Harare East by-election fallout and pitting certain individuals in the top Zanu PF echelons and he has also been a victim of the on-going wars regarding the control of Harare province.
“What’s key, though, is to understand that the likes of Mukupe are suffering under a proxy war and it is likely to get worse as we go towards the provincial elections,” they said.
At the height of his contest and political troubles with Mavis Gumbo, Mukupe’s candidature provided a rare glimpse of widening fissures in President Robert Mugabe’s party when bigwigs, including Chombo and Kasukuwere, repeatedly gave conflicting statements about his endorsement.
As the June 10 by-election divergent views degenerated into an open farce, the factional wars also sucked in several party players and functionaries, including Cleveria Chizema, her son-in-law Godwin Gomwe and ousted acting provincial chair Goodwills Masimerembwa.
At the time, Mukupe also stoked the multi-dimensional factional fights and fire by saying he only listened to Kasukuwere-Daily news