Tsvangirai, Biti face arrest
By Chengetai Zvauya
HARARE – Police and Zanu PF have launched a fresh campaign to crush the MDC
in a plan which involves arresting Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Finance
minister Tendai Biti and other top officials.
The MDC says it is aware Tsvangirai and Biti could be arrested soon but has
warned that it will do everything to expose the “grand plan” to weaken the
party ahead of possible elections.
A dossier has been compiled to support MDC’s case against the clampdown, and
would be handed over to Sadc and the African Union.
Police have been on the coat tails of both Tsvangirai and Biti for more than
six months but critics say the probes are politically-motivated.
Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena refused to
reveal details on the matter. “I have no comment to make and I have nothing
Last week, detectives scoured four financial institutions, perusing the
financial records and transactions of civic society and relief groups
suspected to be working with the MDC leadership in receiving direct funds
for support to distressed groups.
This was the latest crack at some of the banks which had last year been
visited on a different mission but allegedly involving Biti’s transactions.
Sources said some senior bank executives at the financial institutions that
were visited have been placed under surveillance.
This includes tapping their phones, monitoring their lockers at golf clubs
and social holes.
At one institution, the detectives are said to have demanded the list of
visitors to the founding official, list of messages and e-mail addresses of
However, the demands were ignored.
The visits, according to the sources, had not been sanctioned by the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe, which supervises the financial institutions.
RBZ has its financial intelligence inspectorate and supervision teams, which
monitor all activities in the banking sector.
Where they suspect malfeasance, said sources, they have to nail offending
banks but in criminal cases, they have to act as the complainants, and often
supported by investigations’ reports.
Against Biti, sources said so far there is no complainant — raising
questions on the motives of the police probe.
Biti has steadfastly maintained that he has done his tasks above board.
MDC spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said his party had received information of
pending arrests of Tsvangirai and Biti.
“There are plans to demoralise the rank and file of MDC by arresting and
detaining MDC supporters and sympathisers.
However, we know that there is no legal basis for arresting our leadership.
It is just political harassment,’’ said Mwonzora.
Tsvangirai is under probe on fraud allegations and his relative Hebson
Makuvise, Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Germany on allegations of
misappropriation of public funds he used to acquire and build property in
the leafy suburb of Highlands.
Police are also probing Biti over the controversial $500 million windfall
Zimbabwe got from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2009.
They aim to arrest him if they detect any trace of fraud, sources said.
Zimbabwe got $512,3 million in special drawing rights in 2009 after the IMF
injected $283 billion into the global economy to provide liquidity and boost
member countries’ foreign exchange reserves at the height of the financial
Biti and Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono have differed over the money.
They engaged the IMF separately wanting clarification on the use of the
Biti said he was the “sole authority” on how the money would be used. Most
of it would go to infrastructure development and exporters’ lines of credit.
He could also channel some to budgetary support.
The MDC maintains that police have accelerated a programme to decimate the
party ahead of elections.
Two weeks ago, police fought running battles with vendors in Harare and made
arrests not before they claimed party activists were masquerading as
A day later, they raided the MDC regalia shop where they arrested an
attendant whom the MDC claim died during violent beatings.
Last week, more than 50 MDC youths who were holding a solidarity march to
pressure the release of incarcerated youth leader Solomon Madzore, were
arrested and detained in various stations in the city.
Madzore and seven other party sympathisers have been languishing in remand
prison over allegations that they were part of a group that led to the death
of a police officer Petros Mutedza in Glen View last year.
The MDC sees police actions as a deliberate clampdown to weaken its
It has claimed that police are part of a wider campaign to decimate the
party through arrests of top officials.
Zanu PF has said it is not involved in the clampdown.
Party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo has in the past dismissed the MDC claims
accusing them of seeking attention.
But Mwonzora told the Daily News on Sunday that there was a clique of
hardliners that was bent on destroying the MDC.
“We are aware of various machinations by some factions within Zanu PF to
scuttle progress within the government of national unity. The tactic is to
harass senior the MDC leadership by preferring various criminal charges
against them,” said Mwonzora.
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