By Own Correspondent
HARARE – Exiled former cabinet minister Professor Jonathan Moyo has hit out at Hatred Zenenga, editor of the state-controlled Herald newspaper, accusing him of exploiting the mental illness of veteran modelling promoter Mrs Sipho Mazibuko.
This comes after the paper on Monday reported that Moyo had allegedly raped Mazibuko, in 2010, while she was pregnant.
The claims were initially published by Mazibuko on her Facebook page on Friday but had not been repeated by any mainstream media outlet.
The Herald reported Mazibuko’s claim that she was “sexually abused” by Moyo but was “too scared to even report or tell anyone until that fateful day 11 years ago when I went and told the police at Bulawayo Central Police Station.”
Mazibuko has previously alleged some form of sexual abuse by up to half-a-dozen Cabinet ministers, government officials and businessmen.
She claimed that “nothing was done to investigate my case” and “till today my docket died a natural death.”
Police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi on Monday said he was not aware Moyo had been investigated over “sexual abuse”.
Mazibuko was sectioned under the Mental Health Act in 2011 when she caused a scene at the Bulawayo Central Police Station. She went there with a list of men she claimed had sexually assaulted her, but police got concerned with her erratic behaviour.
The list included Moyo, former ministers Obert Mpofu, Walter Mzembi and Francis Nhema as well as the then Zimbabwe Tourism Authority boss Karikoga Kaseke.
The allegations remain unproven.
Mazibuko stripped at the police station and demanded that she be provided “male virgins” to celebrate her birthday, according to one reporter who was present at the time.
Police took her to Ingutsheni Hospital in Bulawayo where she was given a bipolar diagnosis. Some of the symptoms exhibited by bipolar patients include delusion, anger, aggression, depression, self-harm and excessive desire for sex.
The Miss Rural pageant founder previously admitted attempting to commit suicide and blamed her divorce from lawyer Ndabezinhle Mazibuko for her breakdown.
“There was a time I attempted suicide,” she told The Chronicle last August. “I won’t mention using what, but I did try. Fortunately, I failed. At the same time, I was having personal problems and these led to a divorce. When I was thinking and going through these problems, I felt like exploding and the divorce made it worse.”
Curiously, The Herald last week published an article suggesting Mazibuko was “not of sound mind” and linking her to the abuse of girls under the 2003 Miss Rural pageant.
“The pageant suffered a huge setback following allegations of child abuse and lack of resources, including Mazibuko’s depression and subsequent mental challenges,” the paper said in the unrelated report.
Moyo, who now lives in exile after escaping a military assault on his home during the 2017 coup, took to Twitter on Monday and accused The Herald of publishing the allegations for political reasons.
“Hatred, you refer to a missing @PoliceZimbabwe report. At no time in my life did any @PoliceZimbabwe officer anywhere in Zimbabwe engage me on these false and outrageous allegations. Also, I never had any direct or indirect involvement with Mrs Mazibuko’s psychiatric care!” Moyo said in a series of tweets directed at the police and Zenenga.
“I empathise with Sipho Mazibuko’s situation. It’s outrageous for you Hatred and your handlers to exploit it this way. For the record, I never spent a second of my life with Sipho Mazibuko alone. Specifically, I was not a minister 11 years ago and I never saw nor spoke to her then!
“You slyly allege that I ‘left Zimbabwe hurriedly in 2017’. You desperately want to cover up the fact that Emmerson Mnangagwa, who specialises in criminalising his political opponents, sent 25 soldiers with AK47s and grenades to attack me and my family at our home on 15 Nov 2017!”