Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Wednesday fired outspoken deputy information minister Energy Mutodi hours after he insulted three “abducted” opposition officials in a tweet.

A statement from the presidency did not give reasons for the immediate “termination of employment” of Mutodi.

A prominent opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) lawmaker and two party officials were originally arrested for protesting over food shortages experienced during the coronavirus lockdown.

The all-female trio were then abducted from the police station by unidentified men and taken out of the capital where they said they were beaten up and sexually assaulted.

They were later dumped by a roadside where they were found by party colleagues and taken to hospital.

In his tweet Mutodi claimed the three opposition officials “went out for a romantic night to Bindura (a small town) with their lovers”, a couple of miners.

He said the women were beaten up “when they demanded foreign currency for their services”.

The incident attracted condemnation from international rights groups and western diplomats.

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