OUSTED, renegade war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda was arrested in Bulawayo yesterday and will be charged under Section 33 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act which criminalises undermining the authority of the President.Sibanda’s arrest prompted calls for the arrest of Zanu-PF secretary for administration Cde Didymus Mutasa and ousted Manicaland provincial chairman John Mvundura in whose company Jabulani Sibanda accused the President of plotting a “bedroom coup” and threatened to march to State House to confront him.
Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba confirmed both the arrest of Cde Sibanda and the charge he is likely to face.
“I can confirm he was arrested this afternoon (yesterday), although I don’t have much information at the moment,” she said without revealing where the 45-year-old was being held.
Cde Sibanda was expelled from Zanu-PF recently for undermining the President and threatening to mobilise war veterans, youths and women to march to State House to confront President Mugabe.
Cde Sibanda’s wife, Sifiso, said her husband was picked up by police at his farm in Nyamandlovu just before 3pm.
“The men who took him said they were from Harare,” she said.
“He called us later and said senior police officers from Harare had arrested him. He said he didn’t know the reason for his arrest and couldn’t say where they were taking him to.”
She said after the call, Cde Sibanda became unreachable on his mobile phone.
Police sources said investigators were keen to get the former war veterans leader to clarify comments he made in which he appeared to accuse President Mugabe of plotting a “bedroom coup”, while voicing his opposition to First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe’s imminent elevation to lead the Zanu-PF Women’s League.
In October, Sibanda declared he would boycott the First Lady’s popular “Meet the People” rallies held in all the country’s 10 provinces.
He firmly sided with Vice President Joice Mujuru, who has been accused of plotting to overthrow the President and also faces a string of corruption allegations.
Cde Sibanda vowed to boycott the First Lady’s rallies until she stopped her public criticism of VP Mujuru for corruption and blantant abuse of office.
He said he was ready to defend his position and warned that real war veterans would resist attempts to stage “a bedroom coup”, drawing a sharp rebuke from President Mugabe who said the war veterans leader was possessed by the “spirit of Beelzebub”.
“If you want to find me guilty of not attending the First Lady’s rallies, I plead guilty on that one and I won’t attend unless the programme changes. I can’t attend a function where they say ‘Pamberi ne Mazoe Crush’, ‘Pasi ne Gamatox’. That slogan is unknown in Zanu-PF,” Cde Sibanda charged.
“All able-bodied people should stand up… and block attempts to stage a coup both in the boardroom and in the bedroom.”
Cde Sibanda’s statements sparked outrage among fellow war veterans who promptly disowned him and moved swiftly to suspend him and then expel him from the organisation, with Cde Chris Mutsvangwa emerging as the new leader.
The war veterans said Cde Sibanda’s utterances left no doubt that there was a faction in Zanu-PF that had already elevated Cde Mujuru to the post of de facto president and first secretary of the party, since such a “coup” could only be carried out on a sitting President.
The war vets said it was Cde Sibanda and his group who had instead attempted a coup on President Mugabe by “clandestinely anointing Cde Mujuru.”
Cde Pupurai Togarepi, the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Collaborators Association chairperson led the charge, blasting: “Where did he see the President’s bedroom? This is an insult on the President.”