Police out to decimate party: MDC
By Wonai Masvingise
HARARE – Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC which is reeling from a
sustained police crackdown, has accused both Zanu PF and security agents of
trying to decimate its structures ahead of possible elections this year.
The MDC rocked by arrests of its members which it blames on a
“well-orchestrated” campaign to stop it from campaigning, according to
national spokesman Douglas Mwonzora.
Mwonzora yesterday bared it all to the Daily News as more than 50 MDC youths
were languishing in various Bulawayo police cells following their arrests in
the city on Saturday.
Today one of the party’s regalia shop assistants, Barnabas Mwanaka who was
severely assaulted while in police custody, and seven others are set to
appear in court.
“Zanu PF realises that it is very weak and know that they are very likely to
lose an election.
“They want to make MDC weaker ahead of an election. Zanu PF’s structures are
very weak that they are even struggling to come up with suitable candidates
for councillors. It is also a way by factions within Zanu PF to collapse the
Government of National Unity (GNU),” Mwonzora said.
“All this is calculated to stop free and fair elections. This police
brutality will make the MDC unable to campaign. With decimated structures,
you are unable to campaign. An election where other parties are campaigning
with decimated structures may seem free and fair on the surface but it will
“This brutality (police) is the commencement of an unfair electoral
environment. It is a calculated move to intimidate the MDC.”
“It acts as an encouragement for the Zanu PF militia to continue their acts
of impunity,” Mwonzora lashed out.
Police, have, however, said they have not launched a crackdown against the
MDC but are on an exercise to clean up the city in a joint operation with
the Harare municipal police.
Last week, police violently clashed with vendors near First Street and
Nelson Mandela Avenue leading to several arrests, including those of Daily
Hard on the heels of the clashes, heavily armed police raided Harvest House,
the MDC Headquarters, in what they said was a bid to flush out activists who
were “masquerading” as vendors allegedly harboured by the party.
“We are getting closer to arresting those culprits who masquerade as vendors
yet they are political activists,” said Oliver Mandipaka, police spokesman.
Pro-democracy and rights groups have accused police of using knee-jerk
reaction in dealing with citizens and perceived opponents of President
Recently, rights lawyers slammed the abuse of the Public Order and Security
Act (Posa) which they claimed had been abused for “unmitigated repression.”
“Posa has been used by law enforcement agents and rulers of the land for
purposes of unmitigated repression,” Chris Mhike, a human rights lawyer
“The situation has been worsened by rulers who selectively apply the law,
with a clear pattern of heavy application of repressive laws only on those
who are deemed to be enemies of the state,” said Mhike.
Legal experts believe the restrictions imposed by Posa on individual rights
to freedom of assembly are unconstitutional and undemocratic.
On Saturday, Police crushed the MDC’s Youth Assembly Bulawayo’s solidarity
march dubbed “Free Solomon Madzore”, meant to drum up support for the
incarcerated youth leader who has been rotting in remand prison on
allegations of playing a part in the murder of a policeman in Glen View last
Madzore and other party activists have so far failed in their bid to get
bail for various reasons, in circumstances widely suspected to be
Mugabe and Zanu PF insist that elections should be held this year to bring
to an end the power sharing agreement consummated after the signing of the
Global Political Agreement (GPA) on September 15, 2008.
But both formations of the MDC and GPA guarantors, Sadc — have said
elections should be held once reforms have been instituted including the
writing of a new constitution.
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