Skip to main content

4 officials with Zimbabwe PM's office arrested, police say

From Columbus Mavhunga, for CNN
March 17, 2013 -- Updated 1456 GMT (2256 HKT)
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai addresses the media after casting his vote in the referendum on March 16.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai addresses the media after casting his vote in the referendum on March 16.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Authorities accuse the officials of impersonating police
  • The arrests come a day after a key vote on a new constitution
  • Prime minister's office says the officials were arrested after a police raid

Harare, Zimbabwe (CNN) -- Police raided an office of Zimbabwe's prime minister on Sunday, arresting four officials a day after a key vote in the African nation.

The officials are accused of impersonating police, Zimbabwe police spokeswoman Charity Charamba told reporters.

The raid came a day after a national referendum to approve a new constitution that would impose presidential term limits for the first time in Zimbabwe. The results of the voting are not yet known. And it came just a few months before Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is expected to run against President Robert Mugabe in presidential elections.

Tsvangirai's office said in a statement that the officials were arrested after a raid on his communications office. Police also arrested Beatrice Mtetwa, a prominent human rights lawyer, accusing her of "defeating the course of justice," Charamba said.

"She went where police were conducting searches and she was shouting at the detectives," Charamba said.

The officials are in police custody as investigations continue, Charamba said.

Mugabe, 89, has been in power for decades, first serving as prime minister in 1980 and taking over as president seven years later.

He and Tsvangirai are expected to face off in the upcoming election, which will end a fragile coalition between them.

The two leaders entered a power-sharing agreement in 2009 after regional leaders nullified Mugabe's victory, citing violence by his loyalists targeted at rival supporters.

Saturday's referendum -- one of the conditions set before an election -- clears the way for the first poll since a disputed outcome plunged the nation into chaos in 2008.

If approved, which is highly likely, the new constitution will give more powers to the parliament and limit the president's. It also introduces a two-term limit of five years each for a president.

But the limit will not apply retroactively, which means Mugabe could have 10 more years as head of state if he is re-elected.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2245 GMT (0645 HKT)
Pakistan Taliban say the school attack was revenge for the killing of children in a military offensive -- but they are being pressed by defections to ISIS.
A group that claims it hacked Sony Pictures has posted a public threat against moviegoers who see Sony's "The Interview."
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0243 GMT (1043 HKT)
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0948 GMT (1748 HKT)
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0212 GMT (1012 HKT)
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0012 GMT (0812 HKT)
A social media campaign condemning Islamophobia under the hashtag #illridewithyou has taken off after Sydney hostage siege.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
China-bound AirAsia flight turns back to Bangkok after passenger throws water over crew member.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1026 GMT (1826 HKT)
It takes Nepalese eye doctor, Sanduk Ruit about five minutes to change someone's life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1054 GMT (1854 HKT)
This epic journey crosses 13,000 kilometers, eight countries over 21 days. Find out where.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 1416 GMT (2216 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT