Thugs raid Biti
By Guthrie Munyuki
HARARE – In A fresh act of thuggery against finance minister Tendai Biti,
Zanu PF thugs yesterday raided the offices of the MDC secretary general to
try and force him to sign their party’s controversial anti-sanctions
petition or resign.
Although Biti was inside the building, the hooligans could not gain access
to his offices as security personnel locked them out. He later came out and
addressed the press after the thugs had left.
The gangsters carried placards which called for Biti’s resignation, while
others threatened his life.
It could not be established at the time of going to press if the vigilantes
had been given police clearance to march and storm Biti’s office. Biti said
the visit to his offices by the hooligans was the latest act in a
contemptible catalogue of continuing intimidation against him, but vowed not
to “bow down” to the thuggish behaviour by Zanu PF and its supporters.
“This is political intimidation. There are certain sections of this
population that continue to think I am a soft target. I grew up in the
ghetto and the ghetto blood runs in me. I will not be intimidated.”
“I was in meetings. Even if I was not in meetings, I was not going to sign
that stupid petition because I am not open to political and bankrupt thugs.
I am bound by a principle and that principle is what I am,” Biti declared.
He said while it was Zanu PF’s democratic right to have its anti-sanctions
programme, it was illegal to try and force him and others to sign it.
“I cannot and was not going to legitimise an illegitimate process. The
entire sanctions issue has been heavily politicised and the gymnastics you
witnessed at my offices are part of the politicisation of that issue,” the
combative MDC secretary general said.
The militia gathered at the New Government Complex and disturbed traffic at
the adjacent Causeway Post Office by taking control of Central Avenue, which
was littered with the mess and placards they left behind.
They sang derogatory songs about Biti and demanded that the finance minister
sign the anti-sanctions petition “because he had invited sanctions”.
Two menacing ruffians rode the lifts to the sixth floor on Block E where
they forced their way through before members of the Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO) led them away from the corridor leading to Biti’s office.
Journalists were kept at bay by police officers who later took over control
of the entrance to Biti’s offices.
Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo said he was not aware of the raid. “Nobody
told me about it.
You should have asked them why they wanted Biti to sign the anti-sanctions
petition,” he said.
Yesterday’s incident comes at a time that Zanu PF militia have gone on the
rampage throughout the country, forcing people to sign their anti-sanctions
petition while failing to explain what they will do with the two million
signatures they are looking for.
So desperate is Zanu PF with this campaign that they are now reported to be
planning to besiege offices in Harare and other towns, to force people to
sign the petition.
The siege on Biti’s office also comes a few weeks after a powerful explosion
rocked his Harare home, amid suspicions that this was the work of rogue
elements within the military.
Police are yet to make public their investigations around the bomb attack —
which they only undertook 17 hours after the explosion.
“When I joined the inclusive government, I knew I was going into a sewer.
But even in a sewer there are rules. I had no doubt or illusions about Zanu
PF. I have no doubt in my mind that the people who did this (throwing the
bomb) intended to harm me and my family.”
“I can see the fingerprints of the state (in the attack), the military to be
precise. Zanu PF has no capacity to do that, it’s the work of the military,”
Biti said at the time of the bomb blast. The finance minister has had to
endure many harrowing experiences in his 12-year political career.
There have been what he has described as “organised” accidents, a bullet
sent via mail, torture at Goromonzi by the CIO, a search at his residence,
beatings and treason charges.
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