Information obtained by The Zimbabwean revealed that police and Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO) members picked Brent Smythe from Prince
Charles airport near Harare and impounded a six-seater helicopter that was
about to ferry Tsvangirai to a rally in Mashonaland East.
Smythe was taken to Harare Central Police Station and when The Zimbabwean
visited on Wednesday morning it was difficult to establish the circumstances
with sources there saying he had been transferred to a secret place under
the custody of the CIO. MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa described as “insane
and barbaric” the action taken by the state, which had earlier barred the
helicopter from flying Tsvangirai in the Matabeleland region resulting in
him canceling several rallies he had planned for Monday.
“This is really barbaric and insane and only goes to show the kind of
insanity some people want us to accept as presenting an environment that is
free and fair,” Chamisa said. “We are not even sure why they arrested the
pilot or even the circumstances about his safety.”
Police spokesman Oliver Mandipaka said, “I am not with information on that”.
Minister of State security Didymus Mutasa simply cut off his mobile phone as
soon as this reporter had identified himself and Home Affairs minister Kembo
Mohadi said he was in a meeting on three occasions we called him.
MDC treasurer general Roy Bennet, based in SA said they hired the helicopter
for Tsvangirai for the purpose of ferrying him to the remote areas of the
country during this last week before Saturday’s decisive poll in which the
former trade unionist is battling for the country’s presidency against
Mugabe and rebel Zanu (PF) leader, Simba Makoni.