Mugabe ally 'tried to cover up sex assault on man'
John Nkomo, key ally of Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, accused of sexually assaulting man then threatening to kill him
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By Matt Hallam.
Friday, 28, Aug 2009 02:00
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A Zimbabwean minister and top official in president Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party has been accused of sexually assaulting a young man who claims he was later forced to flee the country.
Mcedisi Twala-Nkomo, 30, made a police report upon returning from neighbouring South Africa on Friday that John Nkomo, the minister of state in President Mugabe's office and also Zanu-PF chairman, sexually abused him in 2002, subsequently threatening him with death.
Mr Twala-Nkomo, speaking through his lawyer Mkhululi Nyathi of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), said state agents in the company of the minister threatened him with death before he was 'sodomised.'
The alleged incident took place at a three star Rainbow hotel that the government has majority shares.
After the reported incident, Mr Twala-Nkomo said the minister and state security agents forced him to flee the country after threatening him with death in an apparent attempt to bar him from reporting the case to the police.
The young man from Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo, who was however locked up by the police on Friday for making the police report and freed yesterday, says he now fears for his life following the sensational charges.
"In 2002, I was chased away from Zimbabwe by state agents and Nkomo to prevent me from reporting that the minister sexually harassed me," he said.
"I was being telephoned; being followed and constantly being told that I will be killed if I reported the case until I was forced to flee the country. I returned to Zimbabwe in July and I was being chased away from police stations for attempting to report the case."
He added: "I was arrested for reporting the case on charges that I had lied. The same people that harassed me in 2002 until I fled are the same guys that are harassing me and threatening me with death."
His lawyer expressed "surprise" at the police decision to arrest Twala-Nkomo before investigating his claims. "How can they dismiss Twala-Nkomo's allegations before launching investigations?" Mr Nyathi told inthenews.co.uk.
The minister when contacted for comment said the accusations are a smear campaign. "I know the case that was reported against me but nothing like that ever happened. This is a dirty game which I think is political," said Mr Nkomo
Mr Nkomo is Zanu-PF's current national chairman and a relative of Mugabe whose view on homosexuality are well documented; once labelling gay people "worse than pigs and dogs".