Zvamaida Murwira and Talent Chimutambwi
Police yesterday raided Harvest House, MDC-T party headquarters, and picked up Midlands Senator and party deputy national chairperson Morgan Komichi and 14 activists following a spate of criminal activities that saw some citizens being assaulted while passing by the building.
At least three people were eventually charged after they were positively identified by their victims.
The last straw which saw police moving in followed an assault of three soldiers and a man putting on a 21st February Movement T- shirt last weekend.
The three soldiers – Simbarashe Makombe, Kenneth Lunga and Oscar Dembo – based at Zimbabwe Defence House, were on their way home when they were confronted by MDC-T activists who assaulted them at the weekend.
Police chief spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba confirmed the raid and warned the MDC-T to desist from turning the place into a haven of crime including harbouring vendors who have committed various offences.
“Yes, there was a raid to flush out criminals. A screening exercise was eventually carried out resulting in three people being charged after they were successfully identified by their victims. We will not allow any lawlessness around that area and we do not want to see any vendors.
“The hooligans want to make the place a no-go area yet other places like Parliament and Munhumutapa people move freely, so what is so special with that place,” said Snr Asst Comm Charamba.
She said Komichi was among the people around during the raid but was eventually released but said police would continue with the raids so as to account for those still at large. “We are not victimising anyone but there are malcontents around that area. Even unsanctioned demonstrations begin at that area. The last time they threw stones at people passing by that place yet there is freedom of movement in the country as provided for by the Constitution,” she said.
MDC-T has, however, condemned the arrests saying it was meant to weaken the opposition party’s spirit ahead of their planned demonstration against deteriorating economic situation in the coun- try.
Addressing journalists in the capital, party secretary-general Mr Douglas Mwonzora said those arrested were party workers.
“These are civil servants of the party, they are not politicians. It is an unprovoked attack on the working class. It comes after we have notified the Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri of our demonstration on April 7 to press the Government into doing something about the level of poverty and for the Government to do something to account for the $15 billion from Marange diamond fields,” said Mr Mwonzora, who was accompanied by party secretary for information and publicity Mr Obert Gutu.
Mr Mwonzora said they knew that their notification would spill into the courts as in their view, the police would turn down their application.