Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s statement to the press
MDC Information & Publicity Department
These are trying times for my Office after five members of my staff were picked up in shocking circumstances at their homes yesterday morning.
To date, we remain unclear as to the motive and agenda of this blitz on the Prime Minister’s Office through this arrest of our staff members who worked at our Communications office in Avondale.
A former councillor, Warship Dumba and renowned lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, were also picked up yesterday in the same blitz for as yet undisclosed reasons.
Mtetwa was arrested for allegedly obstructing the course of justice even though she was arrested while executing her duty as a lawyer.
I understand that despite a High Court order being granted for her release, the police have ignored the order, in breach of the Constitution and in total disregard to the rule of law.
I notice from some press reports that our Communications Office in Avondale is now being referred to as the office of some non-governmental organization. The motive for that is certainly sinister.
As we speak, our detained staff members and their lawyers are yet to be told of the charges they are facing, even though the ZBC and the police press and public relations unit are telling the world that they are facing charges of impersonation, without elaboration.
Our officers are still to be charged and our police force should investigate to arrest and not arrest to investigate.
This morning, I met with the acting President, Amai Mujuru, to update her on this needless swoop on my Office as well as the attempt to stop the Zimbabwe Anti- Corruption Commission from executing its Constitutional mandate.
I expressed concern on both the police behaviour on my staff and what is now appearing to be a well-orchestrated move to prevent an independent Commission from doing its work.
The Acting President assured me she would meet with the Commissioner- General of Police.
The targeting of my Office is reprehensible and is meant to harass and intimidate the nation ahead of the election, now that we are done with the referendum.
Last night, I met with the SADC observer team, led by Dr Salamao and I impressed upon the region, as guarantors of our agreement, to ensure that we implement all the reforms that we agreed four years ago, particularly security sector and media reforms.
I urged the observer team to go and see our staff in detention and to make their own assessment of the current environment and to draw up their own conclusions as to whether as a country we are ready for a free and fair election.
We certainly cannot have a police force that arrests people with impunity and then fails to charge them, even though the alleged charges have been told to the media.
We cannot tolerate this unwarranted arrest of innocent staff of an executive office by the police, who then fail to charge them.
We are working hard to improve the electoral environment to make it conducive to a free and fair election, even in the wake of the recent heinous acts, ranging from the murder of Christpowers to this wanton and undignified arrest of innocent staff in my Office, including a breastfeeding mother, Anna Muzvidziwa, who was picked up at church yesterday.
What we are seeing are signs of fear.
These are signs of a police force that has become an appendage of a political party, which party is now showing signs of panic and fear in light of the imminent prospects of losing the forthcoming election.
When I spoke to the SADC observer team last night, I told them that now is the time to call for an urgent SADC summit to check on compliance and implementation of agreed issues and to set the ground rules for a peaceful and civilized electoral contest.
SADC is a curator and guarantor of the GPA and now is the time for the region to play a more active part in charting the way forward.
My thoughts are with our detained staff members.
My thoughts are with their families as well as with the people of Zimbabwe, who remain the true victors because in 2008, they defeated in an election this demon of violence and repression which is now rearing its ugly head again.
I thank you.
MDC Information & Publicity Department
44 Nelson Mandela Ave
Tel: 00263 4 770 708
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