BY MOSES MATENGA
THE opposition MDC has claimed that it is now a banned political party in Zimbabwe and accused Zanu PF of making Zimbabwe a de facto one-party State.
MDC secretary for international relations, Gladys Hlatywayo, said the heavy police presence in and around Harare, the “persecution” of party leaders and recent raid of the party headquarters was clear testimony of a party under siege.
Hlatywayo pleaded with the international community to immediately call President Emmerson Mnangagwa to order over the crisis in the country and perceived persecution of MDC cadres.
“To all intents and purposes, the MDC is now a banned political party and Zimbabwe a de facto one-party State, where only Zanu PF can exist and carry out activities. This is fascism of the highest order. This is why in our RELOAD, we are demanding reforms. We urge the international community to call out the regime of Emmerson Mnangagwa and to continue calling for reforms,” Hlatywayo told NewsDay yesterday.
“The consistent attack on our party, banning of our activities, persecution of our leaders and members and the recent raid of the Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House are all clear violations of our political rights, including the right to association, assembly and right to political activity as set out in the Bill of Rights of our Constitution.”
The MDC has had a number of its activities stopped by police, while several of its party leaders including Zengeza West MP Job Sikhala have been in the dock.
“These rights are also reinforced by international law, for example the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights,” Hlatywayo said.
MDC leader Nelson Chamisa on Sunday said South Africa should play a key role in resolving the Zimbabwean situation.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is the incoming African Union chairman.
Police last Friday raided the MDC headquarters claiming to be searching for subversive weapons, including machetes.
Ironically, former Zanu PF strategist and minister, Jonathan Moyo, claimed the ruling party kept weapons at its headquarters, claims dismissed by party officials.
The MDC headquarters search came amid fears of a shutdown reportedly being plotted by the opposition and civic society organisations in protest over government failure to address the economic malaise that has gripped the country.
There has been a heavy police presence in Harare of late, with police officers on almost all roads leading into the city centre, thoroughly searching commuters and vehicles.
Zimbabweans have been complaining of failure by government to address the challenges that include cash shortages, fuel crisis and other pressing issues.