Friday, 3 August 2018

CRACKDOWN ON OPPOSITION LEADERS

Officials from the MDC Alliance were on tenterhooks yesterday as police embarked on what appeared to be a crackdown on those perceived to have been behind midweek protests, which degenerated into violence — killing six people.

Police confirmed arresting 26 suspected MDC Alliance officials yesterday following the violent clashes in Harare on Wednesday which injured several people after the army used live ammunition to break the ugly demonstrations against alleged bias by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) and delays in the release of Monday poll results.

At the same time, police said it had obtained a warrant to search for grenades, firearms, ammunition and computers at the MDC headquarters.

This comes as the death toll from Wednesday’s bloody clashes between MDC Alliance supporters and security agents, who included police and the military, rose to six.

Addressing a media conference last night, police spokesperson Charity Charamba said among those who had been arrested was former Zanu PF Harare provincial political commissar Shadreck Mashayamombe, who participated in Monday’s national harmonised elections in Harare South on the MDC Alliance ticket.

Mashayamombe was also cited in the search warrant which the police said was necessary to seize weapons believed to belong to or under control of MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa and his key lieutenant Tendai Biti, and others.

The search warrant also cited MDC youth leader Happymore Chidziva, Denford Ngadziore, Shakespeare Mukoyi who is suspected to be part of the infamous Vanguard, former Zanu PF militia leader, Jim Kunaka and Makomborero Haruzivishe.

Charamba said the army will remain deployed as the situation in Harare was still tense.
MDC secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora claimed police wanted to plant evidence to incriminate officials.

“At least 27 members of our staff who were tabulating the results of the elections for analysis purposes were arrested.

“We have also heard that they are looking for Chidziva and Biti but I can tell you they have no specific charges against the two, the charges are wrong at law because the results were declared by the presiding officers, thereafter the results were posted outside polling stations and what Biti did was to say what the world already knew.

“On the other hand, we have also heard that they have arrested (MDC national secretary for mobilisation) Job Sikhala,” Mwonzora said.

Charamba told a news conference last night that police had not cleared Biti and were still keen to interview the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader.

The MDC Alliance issued a statement in which it exonerated Biti and Chidziva of any wrongdoing.
“In these times there is a high temptation to give a dog a bad name just to find a reason to hang it, this must stop,” it said in a statement.

Meanwhile, in Bulawayo, police also cordoned off MDC provincial offices where the party’s management committee was holding a meeting.

Police did not only maintain their heavy presence at the offices but also in the Central Business District.

MDC provincial chairperson Gift Banda said they resolved to maintain peace in the city.
“We were meeting as the Bulawayo management on the way forward regarding the just-ended polls.

“We have argued our case, and agreed to urge our supporters to remain calm until all the results have been announced. We will stand guided by the decision of the national leadership after that,” Banda said.

On Wednesday, MDC Alliance supporters engaged in an orgy of violence after they swamped the streets in the Central Business District where they clashed with police who tried to break their premature celebrations.

The bloodletting violence and the army’s involvement to break the demonstration, took off the gloss from historic elections whose campaign periods were generally characterised by peace.

On Monday, Zimbabwe held its first elections without former president Robert Mugabe whose 37-year iron-fisted rule was dramatically ended by a military operation last November which triggered events that ended with his resignation.

The elections also marked the first time that the main opposition MDC was not represented by its founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai who lost his brave battle with cancer of the colon on Valentine’s Day this year.

Zanu PF has retained its two third parliamentary majority after Monday’s elections.
Zec last night said it would start announcing the results of the presidential elections — as international observers warned that delays could cause more anxiety.

Constitutionally, Zec is still within the law which says it must have finished announcing election results within five days of polling.




“In our initial conversation with you, we said that when we meet we are going to have an exact time when we will be able to tell you when we will announce the presidential election result. The result will start to be announced tonight from 10pm,” Zec commissioner Qhubani Moyo told the media and other election stakeholders yesterday. Daily News

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