Minister faces 50 years jail

BULAWAYO - A cabinet minister considered by many to be one of Robert Mugabe’s favourites could be facing as many as 50 years in jail for stealing cattle if the normally selective arm of the law catches up with her.

Mugabe went to extraordinar

y lengths to secure Sithembiso Nyoni’s ministerial status after her loss in parliamentary elections made her ineligible for cabinet under the country’s constitution. The small to medium scale enterprises minister survived after Mugabe appointed her to the newly created senate.

Three of her workers have been arrested for stock theft after 14 cattle were found on her farm in Matabeleland South.

According to the state-owned Sunday News the cattle, which belong to Nyoni’s neighbour, a white commercial farmer Robert Bruce Moffat, are being held at a secret location for use as exhibits for any future trial. Moffat has so far lost over 50 cattle to rustlers. Under old colonial laws inherited from the Rhodesian government the country has stiff jail sentences for cattle rustling.

Several ordinary Zimbabweans have been slapped with jail sentences ranging from 30 to 60 years in prison. It remains to be seen if Nyoni will face the same type of justice. Given the political favours Mugabe has granted her however, few expect the matter to go anywhere further than a ‘closed door’ rebuke. – Lance Guma, SW Radio Africa

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