BY SILAS NKALA ARMED police on Wednesday allegedly pounced on MDC Alliance activists that were gathered at Vova shopping centre in Nkayi, Matabeleland North province to meet their party leader Nelson Chamisa, who is on a meet-the-people campaign throughout the country.
Chamisa has been traversing different rural areas in the country to drum up support ahead of the 2023 harmonised elections.
However, his tours have encountered violent attacks by Zanu PF supporters.
MDC Alliance deputy spokesperson, Gift Ostallos Siziba yesterday claimed that Chamisa was attacked in Nkayi on Wednesday.
“Armed with AK47s and tear smoke, the State unleashed terror on thousands of citizens of Nkayi.
“Vova shopping centre was turned into a war zone by trigger-happy regime agents who were petrified that if president Chamisa addressed the people, they would be fired,” Siziba said.
“A whole battalion comprising high-ranking police officers, Central Intelligence Organisation officers (CIOs) and mujibhas were stationed in Nkayi,” he said.
However, Siziba could not reveal how Chamisa managed to escape the attack.
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Earlier, he had told Southern Eye that Matabeleland North embraced the MDC Alliance leader.
“Fellow Africans, the democratic movement as led by Advocate Chamisa has been welcomed warmly by compatriots in this part of Zimbabwe.
“In Tohwe, Nkayi, Turk Mine, Vova the citizens were clear on the task and agenda to liberate Zimbabwe and change our concrete realities.
“The message remains: It’s time for citizens to converge and prepare for change,” Siziba said.
Indications are that Chamisa had initially managed to navigate his way into Matabeleland North, and met supporters in various places like Tohwe and at Turk Mine.
Later, there was a massive gathering at Vova shopping centre where the police pounced on the crowd and dispersed it.
In a social media Facebook post on Wednesday, Chamisa said: “I’m in Nkayi, Matabeleland North. Just had a fulfilling citizen and community interface, listening to citizens’ concerns, hopes and aspirations. Great conversations at Nkayi centre, Vova, Tohwe, Zwelabo and Gwelutshena. Nkayi is ready for change. A new great Zimbabwe is loading.”
Contacted for comment, Matabeleland North police spokesperson Inspector Glory Banda said: “Yesterday (Wednesday) I was not at work and I am not privy to that issue.”
During the late MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s era, Matabeleland North was a no-go area as it was under the late former Senior Assistant Commissioner Edmore Veterai.
Tsvangirai’s armoured BMW X5 vehicle was in 2008 impounded by police in Lupane over allegations that it had been improperly imported.
The car was impounded at the height of the 2008 election campaigns.
Police said they were keen to interview South African businessman Adrian Espag in connection with its importation. Another no-go area for the MDC in the province was Nkayi.Follow Silas on Twitter @silasnkala