By Leopold Munhende
EMBATTLED former Sports Minister, Makhosini Hlongwane, arrested Thursday on alleged theft of beans, could now be out of trouble after it has since emerged that the alleged claims were not true.
Hlongwane’s arrest is seen as part of the current siege on Zanu PF politicians linked to the G40 faction.
Media reports Thursday indicated the axed Mberengwa MP was caught with 10 tonnes of beans at his farm.
They were intended for his constituency.
But sources close to the former ZBC journalist said Friday the claims were merely intended to smokescreen what is believed to be an ongoing persecution targeted at G40 sympathisers.
One source said Hlongwane was never found with the alleged cache but instead was left with only 10 bags of 50kg beans meant for a ward which had not yet received its share.
“It is no true; the police who came to search the farm found 10 bags of beans in the veranda at the farm house.
“The beans had been donated by an NGO named Adam Molai Foundation to his constituency,” said the source.
One worker at Hlongwane’s farm who chose not to be named claimed the former lawmaker was picked up by what he thought to have been up to 16 police officers, 4 of whom were armed with AK 47 rifles.
“There were 16 policemen who came to arrest Hlongwane, 4 of them had AK 47 rifles.
“They told him that they wanted to search his house after they had already identified 10 bags of beans which were in the veranda,” the source said.
Hlongwane’s phone went unanswered when continuous attempts to reach him were made on Friday.
A Bulawayo based associate to Hlongwane said that the former minister is now living in fear especially after former Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo is being hounded on alleged corruption.
Chombo, a close aide to ousted President Robert Mugabe, has been dragged to the courts since the former leader was placed under house arrest and forced to surrender his job.
The military was adamant they were out to fish out so-called criminal elements who sought cover behind Zimbabwe’s once feared former ruler to commit acts of corruption unhindered.