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Zimbabwe - report

Zimbabwe police arrest MDC cabinet minister

Reuters/Bazuki Muhammad

Police in Zimbabwe have arrested a cabinet minister from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), reportedly accusing him of calling President Robert Mugabe a liar.

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Jameson Timba, who is minister of state in Tsvangirai’s office, was taken to Harare Central police station and could well be held inside for the whole weekend.

Timba’s arrest is likely to inflame tensions in the already fragile 28-month-old coalition government.

He is the third MDC minister to be arrested this year.

Police have not yet said what he has been charged with but newspaper reports this week said he’d called President Robert Mugabe a liar.

It’s a criminal offence to insult the president in Zimbabwe and convictions can lead to a year in jail.

Timba’s arrest was predictable.

On Monday Mugabe’s Zanu-PF politburo member Jonathan Moyo called for the minister to be investigated by the attorney-general.

Timba appears to have angered Zanu-PF by contradicting Mugabe’s version of what happened at a recent SADC summit on Zimbabwe .

The MDC says Timba has been deliberately arrested on a Friday so that he will have to spend the maximum amount of time in custody before being brought to court.

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