Mliswa’s treatment at the hands of the police has caused concern among family members who told Radio VOP on Monday that they were worried that there was a deliberate plan to harm the outspoken businessman.
“Temba (Mliswa) is being treated like a terrorist or a deadly armed robber. Right now, the prison cell is surrounded by police from support unit and they are holding big, menacing guns. It’s like they are waiting for war. They are claiming that their bosses have told them that Temba is a dangerous criminal who needs high levels of security attention.
“We only hope they will not harm him and later claim that he wanted to run away. Why would they treat him as if he is a serial killer or Osama bin Laden. It is stressing to see the snipers from support unit all over the place.
“It seems they are getting instructions from the top offices among the police but we will still wonder whether this is still a case of Temba facing these trumped up charges or some people just want to show their muscle over personal issues. We have reached a stage where we are saying Temba’s life is now in the hands of God,” said a family member.
Mliswa, who was granted bail last Friday by Harare magistrate Don Ndirowei on charges of stealing generators and defrauding the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe of US$3,5 million, was re-arrested for the third time after getting bail at the courts.
Mliswa was dramatically re-arrested at Chikurubi Maximum remand prison on Friday in an operation that left even prison guards shell shocked.
At least 15 heavily armed police officers in four top of the range vehicles – a BMW, a Range Rover, a Mazda B2500 and an Isuzu raided Chikurubi and snatched Mliswa soon after he was released.
The vehicles sped in the direction of the city centre and family members pursuing the police convoy were threatened by plain clothes police officers from one of the vehicles.
A prison guard who spoke to Radio VOP said everyone was shocked with the way Mliswa was arrested.
“He was virtually abducted not arrested. The police came in some strange vehicles we had never seen before and bundled him into a tinted Isuzu truck. There were some whites and some of Indian origin among the arresting officers and up to now we don’t know who these people are.
“Some officers from the homicide section had introduced themselves but we don’t understand where the other guys came from. It was like a movie. Temba (Mliswa) has been in custody for over a month and has been nice to everyone and at no point did engage in violence or threaten anyone to deserve such treatment.
“We really don’t understand the presence of all those officers with automatic machine guns yet the person is mainly facing what looks like merely civil cases,” said the prison guard who witnessed Mliswa’s dramatic arrest.
Mliswa was taken to Harare Central Police station where he was interrogated for a violence incident that occurred in 2003 during the height of the violent and bloody farm invasions. He is expected in court on Wednesday.
He is now being charged with attempted murder for the 2003 incident. Mliswa’s arrest is in defiance with a court order given by the magistrate who said police must bring together all the crimes he is alleged to have committed and not to bring his cases in installments.
The magistrate said by bringing cases one by one and making sure they arrested him each time he was given bail, police were infringing on his rights.
Mliswa’s treatment is similar to that of Jestina Mukoko, Roy Bennett and many other human rights defenders and opposition officials who have fallen prey to the regime.
Mliswa was arrested for publicly accusing police commissioner general Augustine Chihuri of being corrupt and since then police have been digging up his cases allegedly committed nearly a decade ago.