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Police comment on political violence

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There have been political violence cases in Harare with the MDC–T making vehement denials that its members are not involved and are only victims of Zanu PF.

This is what MDC-T would like everyone and the international community to believe.

Below is a chronicle of politically-motivated violence cases that have occurred within Harare this year and in all the cases the MDC-T is an active participant and instigator of the violence.

a) January 6, 2011 — A Zengeza resident was walking along Nelson Mandela Avenue going westward at about 0700hrs. He was wearing a Zanu PF T-shirt.

Near Harvest House, two suspected MDC-T supporters approached him and tore his T-shirt as 10 other people who appeared to be acting in concert watched without intervening. A report was made at Harare Central (Police Station) and investigations are still in progress.

b) January 10, 2011 — Two complainants were walking along Nelson Mandela Avenue wearing green caps written “Zanu PF 2010 Conference”.

When they were opposite Harvest House they were accosted by suspected MDC-T members who assaulted them with open hands and booted feet accusing them of wearing Zanu PF regalia.

One complainant suffered bruises on the forehead. A report was made at Harare Central (Police Station) and investigations are in progress.

c) Seventeen municipal workers were arrested over the slashing of maize between January 7 and January 11, 2011. A report of malicious damage to property was made at Kuwadzana, leading to the arrest of municipal workers.

d) January 20, 2011 — Two Zanu PF supporters from Glendale were walking past Harvest House when they were accosted by suspected MDC-T supporters as one of them was wearing a Zanu PF T-shirt.

The Zanu PF supporter wearing the T-shirt was attacked by a female adult who had come out of Harvest House. Two male adults joined her.

As the second supporter tried to rescue his friend, he was also attacked. After the attack the assailants ran into Harvest House. A report was made at Harare Central (Police Station). Investigations are in progress.

e) January 22, 2011 — Members of Rambai
Makashinga housing co-operative were holding a meeting in Budiriro 4. They were approached by 200 MDC-T youths who were chanting party slogans.

Most of them were holding bars, logs and stones. The MDC-T youths were alleging that they were not getting equal opportunities in accessing residential stands.

They damaged office furniture, asbestos sheets and windows. After the attack they proceeded to Current shopping centre in Budiriro 5B where they harassed and assaulted people, mainly Zanu PF supporters. A report was made at Glen View Police Station leading to the arrest of 12 MDC-T supporters.

f) January 22, 2011 — An MDC-T councillor in Epworth was arrested for assaulting a Zanu PF supporter at his tuckshop in the same township. The complainant is the Zanu PF youth vice-chairman for Nyikavanhu district

g) January 30, 2011 — About 100 MDC-T youths were gathered at Mufakose Area J Hall for a meeting. The agenda was to choose new office-bearers.

Fighting started among the supporters as they jockeyed for positions. Investigations are in progress.

h) January 31, 2011 – Seven MDC-T youths were repairing doors and windows as well as cleaning their offices along Mbare Street in Mbare.

As three members of the public passed by they were attacked with stones by the MDC-T youths. Zanu PF youths mobilised themselves and retaliated.

Two people were injured in the incident and were referred to Harare Central Hospital where they were treated and discharged. Seven people were arrested.

i) February 2, 2011 — At about 23:30hrs, the complainant who is employed as a security guard at Zanu PF Munhumutapa district offices community hall in Rugare, was approached by 40 suspected MDC-T youths who were chanting party slogans. They were accusing him of being a Zanu PF party sympathiser.

The group assaulted him using iron bars and fists and he sustained injuries on his back. He later escaped and made a report at Warren Park Police Station and was referred to Harare Central Hospital.

Information gathered in the investigation indicated that the activists were in the company of an MDC-T councillor leading to his arrest and (that of) eight others.

In all the above cases, it is clear that the MDC-T is orchestrating the political violence in which they cry victim.

The complicity of the MDC-T leadership at the various levels is evident through the councillors who have been arrested in Epworth, Mbare and Warren Park.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) will not be deterred in the discharge of its constitutional duties and will not need anyone to remind it of its obligations.

The police are going to be very tough on the perpetrators of violence and no one should cry foul when arrested.

The force is determined to deal firmly with all cases of political violence without fear or favour.

Also, recent statements by the MDC-T leadership on the issue of violence appear to suggest that any degeneration of law and order is welcome in the country.

Such language is not expected of leaders. It boggles the mind why some politicians harbour ascendancy to leadership through violence destroying the same people they seek to lead.

Let everyone be warned that the ZRP will rise to the occasion to deal with any wanton acts of violence in any part of this country.

At the same time we would like to reassure everyone that the Force is not in any way complicit in the violence that has occurred in Harare and indeed anywhere else and we will not be deterred by any MDC-T accusations which seek to dishearten and weaken police operations which have already been crippled through underfunding by the Finance ministry.

Our role is very clear and we will continue to arrest and prosecute perpetrators of violence or those who engage in any other criminal activities.

Wayne Bvudzijena (Senior Assistant Commissioner)

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