Police look on as MDC-T official & others attacked outside Parliament
By Alex Bell
An MDC-T official has been injured, along with at least one other person,
after ZANU PF youths started attacking people outside Parliament on Tuesday.
Members of Zimbabwe’s notoriously partisan police, as well as other ZANU PF
loyal members of the security forces, looked on while the party thugs
threatened, harassed and attacked anyone perceived to be an MDC-T supporter.
MDC-T official Vincent Chifodya had to seek medical treatment having been
beaten over the head, while a cameraman Henry Chimbiri was also beaten.
SW Radio Africa’s Harare correspondent Simon Muchemwa explained that crowds
had gathered in the capital for the annual reopening of the new
parliamentary session. He described how truckloads of ZANU PF youths were
seen arriving in the area before the official reopening ceremony got under
“Just before Robert Mugabe arrived to open Parliament, there were lots of
skirmishes with ZANU PF youths attacking people, beating them and chasing
them down the street,” Muchemwa said.
He added: “CIO officers, military intelligence and the police had surrounded
the area, but they did nothing to stop the attacks by ZANU PF.”
Muchemwa explained that instead of arresting the culprits of the violence,
police and other security officials detained him and a group of other
journalists and photographers. He said that they were immediately set upon
when they tried to photograph what was happening, and then held for almost
“Ironically these skirmishes continued even while Robert Mugabe was giving
his speech, which he ended by denouncing violence,” Muchemwa said, adding:
“It is shameful that he is giving lip service to denouncing violence while
his followers were beating people up right outside Parliament.”
Mugabe called for an end to violence “in all its manifestations,” before
saying that his partners in the coalition government had agreed to
“timelines” towards fresh elections. He did not detail what these timelines
are, but insisted that lawmakers should lead the push for reconciliation and
“national healing” before the poll.
The comments by the 87 year old Mugabe come less than a week after he said
elections will be held in March next year, which the MDC-T has dismissed.
Party spokesman Douglas Mwonzora said on Monday that the decision cannot be
made until all partners in government agree. It is not yet clear if this has
But the violence unleashed on Tuesday clearly demonstrates that Zimbabwe is
a long way from being ready for a peaceful, democratic election.