Crackdown on opposion MDC leaders

HARARE - 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.

Comments (8)

SAKA hapana musoja akasungwa kwakunosunga vanhu vasina zvavanoziva

g40 - 3 August 2018

If you continue singing from Chamisa hymn book you do not see what they did. Unfortunately the world over a candidate does not announce elections and then incite the population to protest against a constitutionally appointed commission for doing its job. ZEc had 5 days to complete the task. you did not give them five days. You guys want to be allowed to force your way in everything. Sungwai

Grace Jones - 3 August 2018

Sometimes I find people funny, Chamisa could not wait for his leader Tsvangirayi to be buried before he wrestled leadership from Madam Khupe, what else would you expect from him, one would expect that Lawyers to know better, but this man's desperation makes him forget everything and every law he has studied. Shame.

tonderayi - 3 August 2018

Transparency has NOT been a strong point of the ZEC's behaviour. It is without doubt that ZANU(PF) has had access to much more information than the other parties. Furthermore, there has not been any openness about figures till a rather neatly convenient set of figures emerged on Thursday night... Mnangagwa wins 50.8% (just enough to have a majority), ZANU has just over 140 seats in parliament (just enough to have an overriding 2/3), and rural voters are supposed to have an opinion in diametric opposite to town voters as if they are a different set of people altogether (and presumably don't talk to each other, or speak the same language!!)...and large numbers are recorded as voting in sparsely populated rural areas... Where are all the true figures of numbers voting at each polling station?? No wonder people are cross. What is the point of talking of democracy when the people cannot make the decisions, and the whole exercise appears as a sham? The army which was acclaimed for ousting Mugabe has totally forfeited the good will of the people, and the high handed tactics of repression has demonstrated the cold intransigence of an unchanged ZANU(PF), driven by its own self-interest. The outside world will certainly think twice before giving the handouts the party apparachniks want to save their skin. Crocodiles are known to eat their own!

mikeytha - 3 August 2018

Tonderai usangovenga wena. Saka waida kuti Khupe atore chigaro chipi chacho. Kuti aparadze party? Akawaney pama elections abva kuitwa apa?

Mike Mangwiro - 3 August 2018

Chamisa lacks leadership astuteness. Tonderai you are correct. He displays nefarious and thuggish tendencies. Obviously this suits the likes of Sikhala, Komichi, Tambolenyoka, Whende, Mashayamombe et al. Biti with nowhere else to go, is trying very hard to fit in and be relevant. But now its "an egg in the face" after losing the elections. Whither to MDC Alliance!!! And Daily News seems to be in the dark part of the day. Hardly telling it like it is!!!

Will Blackman - 4 August 2018

Will you say Chamisa lacks leadership qualities. Tell me where can you point to leadership qualities in Zim at the moment? Unleashing live bullets on unarmed citizens? Holding on to election results unnecessarily?

Gilbert Phiri - 4 August 2018

One Chamisa defect is that there is no leader who elects himself,how come he argues he has won the elections & that he was the only one who was supposed to be elected when all other facts point to his losing -thisz clear sign of dictatorial tendencies -his good friend is nicole circisco of Romalia who could not see n thing taller than him in his own country& Raila Ordinga o kenya

addmore gudo - 4 August 2018

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