Residents in several suburbs expressed their surprise at police beating up some of the Zanu PF supporters manning the torture camps, telling them their services were no longer required. Observers say the reasons for these forced closures is that Zanu PF no longer requires these structures of violence, after the election run-off.Â Our correspondent Simon Muchemwa says the whole exercise is a PR campaign to try and make the government look good. The state media is also flighting adverts from the police, naming perpetrators of violence, such as war vet Gilbert Moyo, known for his terror campaign in the Chegutu area. 7 MDC MP’s have also been named for rimes ranging from public violence to attempted murder.’
If the government was serious about stopping the violence, they could at any time pick up war vets like Moyo. But what they do is target MDC officials.
Â MDC Information Director Luke Tamborinyoka reacted angrily to the latest naming of the MDC for crimes, saying this will hurt any chances of dialogue. How can we go to the table when half the leadership is either on the run or in police custody.’Â This week MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai demanded the release of all political prisoners as a pre-condition to any dialogue.
Other analysts argue Mugabe wants to whittle down the opposition’s majority in parliament and will continue with his dirty tactics, to achieve this. Under the country’s laws an MP convicted of a criminal offence can be expelled from parliament. The MDC has also expressed fears the regime might even consider assassinating their MP’s to force by-elections that will be won violently. Since the March 29 first round election, which was won by the MDC, over 103 MDC activists and officials have been assasinated.
Meanwhile Lionel Saungweme our correpondent in Bulawayo reports that over 200 soldiers were involved in an intimidating display of support for Mugabe in the city on Friday. The soldiers jogged through the city centre wearing pro-Mugabe t-shirts with the slogan 100 percent Empowerment’ and while singing liberation war songs. In another attempt at intimidation a police anti-riot tanker parked menacingly outside the MDC offices between 9th Street and George Silundika Avenue.