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Tsvangirai under siege

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Under siege former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday almost lost expensive furniture and other household goods after the Deputy Sheriff in the company of armed police raided his upmarket Highlands residence in Harare.

BY OBEY MANAYITI

The raid was the second this week after a failed attempt on Tuesday.

This time the Deputy Sheriff and the police reportedly broke into the government-owned house.

MDC-T described the action as another spirited campaign to embarrass its leader.

The Deputy Sheriff, who was also accompanied by journalists from the State media, apparently aborted his actions after being shown an order of stay of execution.

Tsvangirai was at home yesterday after his tour of Manicaland.

The Deputy Sheriff wanted to attach the property to settle a labour dispute involving MDC-T’s 13 ex-security aides whose contracts were terminated in August 2010.

The security aides approached the Labour Court, which reversed the decision to have their employment terminated and ordered the party to reinstate them with full benefits as well as 5% interest on the varying amounts awarded to them.

Armed with an alleged court order, the Deputy Sheriff and his crew were said to have broken Tsvangirai’s gate and gained access into the house.

The party said it believed the move was a desperate reaction by Zanu PF “to the resurgence of the biggest opposition party in the country”.

“This is a clear cut case of political victimisation of our party president Morgan Tsvangirai,” MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said.

“For those of you who were here when the Deputy Sheriff and his squad arrived you noticed that not only the Deputy Sheriff was here.

“We also had in attendance the whole crew from ZBC, we also had a truck load of heavily armed policeman which was utterly unnecessary.”

He said the hostile squad did not even bother to listen to the legal standing of the matter considering that there was an order for a stay of execution.

Gutu, who was also doubling as a legal representative in this matter said he had to rush to the High Court to see the Deputy Sheriff who then told the squad which was busy taking out Tsvangirai’s items to stop their actions.

“You can see that there was nothing lawful about it. There was nothing legal about it,” he said.

“It was just meant to embarrass Morgan Tsvangirai because they know he is a popular political leader, to embarrass the party that he leads — the MDC-T — just to create unnecessary alarm and despondence and obviously gross embarrassment which we condemn unreservedly. They actually forced open the gate. They behaved like seasoned burglars.”

Describing the fracas as thuggish, Gutu added: “They broke the rail on top and also broke the security lock violently. There was no need to act like we are in a war zone.”

Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka also condemned the move by the Deputy Sheriff saying he was determined to score cheap political scores by scaling down the perimeter wall at his boss’ Highlands mansion.

“For some of us, it is the dramatisation and the attempt at shooting a needless, low cost movie around Tsvangirai that is worrying,” he said.

“The drama is unnecessarily clouding the otherwise legitimate case of former employees of the party who have every right to approach the courts.”

There were also allegations that the Deputy Sheriff seized two cars belonging to individuals at the party’s headquarters at Harvest House.

After being told to leave by the Sheriff of the High Court, the squad refused to take back Tsvangirai’s property into his residence which they left strewn all over as they left in a hurry. MDC-T said it believes the Deputy Sheriff’s conduct was malicious because there were no changed circumstances in the matter.

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