POLICE last night arrested CCC deputy chairman and Member of Parliament for Zengeza West Job Sikhala in connection with the violence that erupted at Nyatsime on the outskirts of Chitungwiza where his party supporters went on a rampage burning houses and destroying property.
Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the arrest of Sikhala and other CCC youths.
“Sikhala and several youths suspected to be behind the violence in Nyatsime have been arrested on various charges that include inciting violence, arson and destroying property,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
Suspected CCC activists yesterday went on an orgy of violence, torching homes of Zanu PF officials, smashing shop windows and stoning cars in Seke ostensibly to avenge the death of Moreblessing Ali whose remains were found in a well in the suburb of Nyatsime just outside Chitungwiza.
According to witnesses, a house belonging to Zanu PF branch chairman, Cde George Murambatsvina, was burnt down while a gazebo at Chibhanguza Shopping centre in the new suburb was also reduced to ashes.
Cars were not spared as the suspected opposition supporters ran amok sealing off roads and shutting down businesses.
This came after CCC vice-chairperson Sikhala openly instigated the party supporters to take the war to Zanu PF in the wake of the unfortunate murder of Ali, in a case that police are currently investigating and which witnesses and friends have said was a case of gender-based violence.
The violence that erupted in Nyatsime also comes as the opposition, civic society and some Western embassies have been trying to score cheap political points through baseless claims that a Zanu PF activist is behind the murder of Ali.
Sikhala is on record as vowing to avenge the death of Ali, who some say was not even a member of the opposition party.
“This death of Moreblessing Ali, let me tell them and the whole Zimbabwe, the whole family shall perish whichever way we are going to do it the family will suffer. You might not hear about this family again, it will be wiped from the face of the earth if they are not going to apologise as soon as possible.
“Many people have volunteered to do the business to make sure the spirit of Moreblessing Ali will not rest until we avenge, and truly the avenging will be done,” said Sikhala.
And true to the threats by Sikhala, Nyatsime yesterday afternoon resembled a war zone as marauding CCC activists went on an orgy of violence targeting homes of Zanu PF members after incitement from the CCC leadership.
Government spokesperson Mr Nick Mangwana, who is also the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, said the law will take its course with no fear or favour.
“The swift arm of the law will deal with the arsonists who torched this private property, putting lives at risk and damaging personal belongings. Louts who perpetrate criminal acts will be dealt with in terms of the law without fear or favour.
“They were deliberately cranked up to their most violent mode through inflammatory rhetoric. And as sure as the sun rises from the East they obliged.
“Politicians should stop using young people as cannon fodder to remain relevant. This is not on,” he said.
Police had to be deployed to the area to quell the rioters who had been bussed from Chitungwiza as the opposition yet again shows its true form of resorting to violence, especially ahead of key international events such as the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Rwanda as well as next year’s elections.
When The Herald visited the area yesterday, some of the CCC supporters were still stoning and turning away cars before the arrival of two truckloads of anti-riot police.
One of the residents who spoke on condition of anonymity warned The Herald news crew from entering the area.
“My brothers, do you stay in this area? And where are you driving to? There have been clashes and some of these people do not want to see any unfamiliar faces and cars they do not know. I would advise that you should be very careful or rather drive back before they stone your vehicle.”
Seke Constituency legislator Cde Munyaradzi Kashambe said he only got to know about the disturbances yesterday afternoon when he was about to get into Parliament.
“I phoned some officials on the ground and they informed me that there were some disturbances in Nyatsime and that is when I advised the party officials and the police to ensure that sanity prevails on the ground,” he said.
In an interview last night, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the disturbances and said the law enforcement agents are leaving no stone unturned to apprehend the suspects.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police is investigating the circumstances which have led to incidences of public violence in Nyatsime area, Chitungwiza, this afternoon. A detailed statement will be released in due course as police officers are currently on the ground to ensure that law and order is maintained,” he said.
Several motorists driving through the area were forced to make U-turns as some of the youths were threatening to destroy their cars.