MDC councilor, activists, arrested over trumped up charges .spent six days in detention, released on $50 bail each

arrestMARONDERA - MDC councilor for ward 8, Carlos Mudzongwa, activists Fred Munemo, Peter Nyadembera, Admire Takawira and Talkmore Chapendama, were arrested by police at the instigation of Zanu (PF), following a successful MDC vitory celebration party at Rudhaka Stadium last week Sunday.

The activists were accused of beating up a Zanu (PF) supporter at a shopping center in Rusike, while celebrations were in progress. Charges denied by the accused.

Zanu (PF), police and CIO, have joined forces to instill fear in MDC structures through arbitrary arrests of members of the MDC youth wing. This was revealed by highly placed sources in the police.

The sources said, arrested activists would be detained in custody indefinitely, under police application for further detention. This will scare away youths from participating in MDC politics.

Names of arrested activists were reportedly drafted and given to police by a Zanu (PF) youth identified as Saviour. She is employed by the local municipality as a refuse cleaner at the town bus terminus. There are also reports that names given to police, were also handed over to an unidentified magistrate courts prosecutor, for actioning. Arrested activists, would be put on trial by a magistrate who was wife to the late CIO operative, Sydeny Nhlomayi, who abducted MDC district chairperson, Portifa Bakayimana, in May 2008, broad day light.

“The motive behind the arrests, is to torture suspects and give the impression supporting MDC is a risky and unnecessary activity. This will instill fear in MDC youths and destroy their fighting spirit. Zanu (PF) is scared of vibrancy enjoyed by MDC youths in Mashonaland East Province. The youths drive the party, hence the arrests. More arrests are yet to come,”

said a senior police officer at the district headquarters.

The arrested five are hardened activists, regarded as the spinal code of MDC in the district. Police wants to use the arrests to ban future MDC rallies in this small provincial capital.

Last week Wednesday, three CIO operatives visited detained MDC activists at police holding cells and attempted to extract confidential party information.

The accused dismissed the spy agents.

“Detainees told the CIO off. The CIO in connivance with an assistant inspector at the police law and order, Hungwe, wanted to force Mudzongwa and Chapendama, to incriminate Munemo and Takawira as brains behind the alleged assault. Zanu

(PF) and CIO, fear Munemo and Takawira could be think tanks behind destruction of Zanu (PF) popularity in the province. Mudzongwa told the spy agents that they had no role to play in a trumped up public assault case.

Munemo and Takawira are former police officers who were discharged from the force for supporting MDC,” said the police source.

Officer in Charge Crime, Assistant Inspector Hungwe, who is handling the case, is a war veterans association vice chairperson for Mazowe. He is also a senior member of Zanu (PF) district coordinating committee for Highfield.

Hungwe’s swift deployment of police, CIO and CID operatives to arrested innocent MDC activists on trumped up charges, angered Tsvangirai’s followers.

Hanging on the walls in Hungwe’s office at police district headquarters, is a Zanu (PF) campaign poster written ‘VOTE MUGABE FOR PRESIDENT’. One of the arrested activists, Takawira, challenged Hungwe to choose between being a public servant or politician. Takawira was reacting to the Mugabe poster.

“Where was Hungwe when our supporters were harassed, beaten up by known Zanu

(PF) thugs and state security agents. Where was he when MDC activists, Portifa Bakayimana and Kainos Betera, were abducted and made to disappear by identified state security agents, broad day light in May 2008. Where was the police when MDC councilors, Calleb Marange and Felix Muzambi, were savagely assaulted by known Zanu (PF) thugs,” asked MDC district information and publicity officer, Dominic Matangira.

MDC supporters who visited arrested activists at police holding cells last week, challenged police to arrest known Zanu (PF), army and CIO agents who harassed, abducted and killed suspected MDC activists, in the run up to the discredited June 27, 2008 presidential elections run off. This angered partisan police officers, including Hungwe and a notorious police constabulary, Masendu, who ordered MDC supporters off the premise.

MDC supporters also challenged police to take the detained to court, since they had spent 96 hours in holding cells without trial. Running battles between police and MDC supporters ensued, as police tried to fight voice of reason and crush wheels of political change. Arrested people are expected to appear in court within 48 hours of arrest.

The activists latter appeared in court last Friday, amid heavy presence of armed riot police. The magistrates court resembled a war zone and a country in a state of emergency as armed police officers roamed the premise menacingly.

MDC supporters in their hundreds braved the threat and told armed police details, MDC was prepared to die for justice and democracy. “Release our colleagues and rule of law must prevail.” The five were remanded in custody to Monday March 29 and later granted $50 bail each. Munemo and Takawira were detained at Remand Prison among dangerous criminals and were in leg irons.

Councilor Mudzongwa, a Rastafarian by culture, was forced to shave his dreadlocks. The five are reporting every Friday at CID. They will appear in court again on April 7.

Reports revealed Zanu (PF) in connivance with some prison officers, intended to feed remanded MDC activists, sadza mixed with cement to compromise their health condition.

On the Sunday MDC held victory celebrations, a resident of Rusike, Jairos, was assaulted by Zanu thugs led by one, ‘Lecturer’ Fukurayi, for waving an open palm to a passing MDC truck. An open palm is MDC party symbol. Two weeks ago, MDC member of parliament for Marondera urban, Ian Kay and his secretary, Diamond Tenifara, were detained and harassed by Zanu thugs at Summerset farm.

On December 25, last year, Zanu (PF) provincial security officer, Lawrence Katsiru, brutally assaulted suspected MDC supporter, Kam Betera. Despite being the victim, Betera, was arrested and detained for two days. Hungwe did not order any arrests of perpetrators of the crimes, as they were committed by Mugabe’s supporters who are immune to prosecution.

MDC provincial youth chairperson, Samuel Kamundarira and activist, Peter Nyadembera, are also appearing in court on similar trumped up charges. They were provoked and assaulted by Zanu youths at Kasipiti Cocktail Bar in Rujeko two months ago. They reported the incident to police, but were turned into the accused by the partisan police. Police sources revealed there are clandestine operations to arrest and tarnish the image of MDC Mayor, Farai Nyandoro.

“Though Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, claim to be drinking tea harmoniously with president Mugabe every Monday, this must not give him peace of mind, as Mugabe’s followers with the help of state security agents, are destroying MDC structures ahead of expected general elections next year.

How can a self respecting police force take instructions from a member of the neighborhood-watch like Masendu. Musendu’s years of service expired and is renewing service annually. This underscores speculations that, the police is partisan and an extension of Zanu (PF) militia structures,” said a senior resident on condition of anonymity.

“MDC is disappointed with selective application of justice. Zanu (PF) and state agents of terror are on the rampage, harassing and arresting our members. They want to destroy MDC in Mashonaland Province. People are not happy with MDC CO-Minister of Home Affairs, Giles Mutsekwa’s inaction at the ministry. It is high time Mutsekwa justify his presence in the inclusive government ministerial portfolio,” said MDC district chairperson, Chengetai Murova.

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