POLICE yesterday besieged the opposition MDC headquarters in Harare, the Morgan Tsvangirai House, and blocked officials from both the Thokozani Khupe-led MDC and those from the Nelson Chamisa-led party, as the fight for the control of the party and its assets takes centre stage.
BY MOSES MATENGA
But national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said officers at the Morgan Tsvangirai House were maintaining law and order and no one, according to their records, had been chased away.
“Police officers are maintaining law and order in terms of the constitutional mandate that they have in terms of ensuring peace and security, particularly now that the nation is implementing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Nyathi said.
He said no one was being denied access to the MDC headquarters and had clashes with the police.
When NewsDay Weekender visited the party offices early in the morning yesterday, a police truck was parked at the entrance of the party headquarters, with armed police officers milling around and forcing people to the ground near the premises, some of them conducting their businesses despite the 21-day lockdown meant to slow down the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
MDC Alliance secretary-general Chalton Hwende said the party was aware of the police presence adding that a group of youths, allegedly linked to Khupe, came to the Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House on Wednesday trying to get access into the building claiming they were now in charge.
“I don’t know why the police are there, but I have heard there were some known youths aligned to Khupe who went there and tried to get access,” he said.
MDC Alliance vice-president Tendai Biti was barred from using the party headquarters on Tuesday for his post-Supreme Court judgment Press conference, and instead held it at his Milton Park offices.
MDC Alliance sources said the building, formerly Harvest House, did not belong to the MDC, but was registered under a private company, hence attempts by the Khupe faction to take over the building were an exercise in futility.
The party spokesperson Daniel Molokele said party officials would continue to work from home, first because of the lockdown, and that police had denied entry to some of its party officials, in apparent reference to Biti.
Molokele, however, said they would not lose sleep over losing the Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House as “it was not about the building” and they could get any building they will name after the late party leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.
A senior MDC official, who spoke on condition of anonymity with regards to properties, said the party, with Mwonzora as secretary-general, never had any properties.
In fact, the official said, the only properties the party had included vehicles, which were taken by Biti when he formed a breakaway party following a misunderstanding with Tsvangirai.
“The MDC has no property. Mwonzora never bought any property for the party when he was secretary-general. Did you ever come across any branded MDC vehicle on the streets even during the election campaigns? Not even a single province has an MDC vehicle as it stands,” the insider said.
“The MRT House was bought by a group of businesspeople and there was a strategy why that was done in that manner.”