MDC-T, police in dispute over policemans death

mdc_logoA blame war has erupted between the MDC-T and the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) following the death of a policeman at a rowdy meeting in Harare.

The police allege the officer, Inspector Petros Mutedza, was killed by a mob of riotous MDC-T supporters. The party has furiously denied this, insisting their members did not hold any meeting at the scene of the murder. A spokesman claims it is part of the ZANU PF ploy to present the MDC-T as a violent organisation.

On Monday police spokesman Andrew Phiri told SW Radio Africa that Mutedza led a police contingent to the scene, following a report that there was an illegal gathering. They proceeded to the scene, and indeed there was a large number of MDC-T party activists who were donning party t-shirts. And since the gathering was illegal, the police tried to disperse them, and in the process the crowd began to be riotous. They started throwing stones and other objects at the police officers, Phiri explained.

He said that Mutedza, who was at the forefront, was hit by a stone and fell down. The mob surrounded him, trampling and kicking him until he was unconscious; he was taken to Harare Central Hospital and pronounced dead on arrival, Phiri explained.

Phiri also said further proof that it was the MDC-T, was that they had previously said they wanted to have a meeting in that area. We have information that they are MDC supporters because in the locality where they are, there is a police station and they previously indicated that they wanted to gather, he said.

Questions have arisen over why the police did not make any arrests. In response, Phiri said: We are talking of more than a hundred riotous people, faced by a stick of police officers. They have stoned one, surrounded him, trampling him and you expect a group of seven people to overcome 100 riotous people? However Obert Gutu, the MDC-Ts Harare Province Secretary for Information and Publicity, dismissed the ZRPs allegations.

There was no meeting of the MDC held in Glen View yesterday, and any suggestion that there was an unsanctioned meeting of the MDC in Glen View yesterday is a fabrication and is utterly false. Dont see this as an isolated incident. Its well orchestrated, well planned. The idea is to build up a case to paint the MDC as a violent party and obviously to try to convince SADC, come June 11 in Joburg, that the MDC is not to be believed, that the MDC is the architect of violence, Gutu said.

But statements by the MDC-T youth wing have not helped distance the party from allegations of violence. Recently Solomon Madzore, the MDC Youth Assembly Chairman, told supporters at a memorial meeting for an activist that they must prepare to defend the party. An MDC-T statement quoted Madzore saying; ZANU PF must treat MDC the way they also want MDC to treat them, as the MDC is also equally capable to do what they do.

On Monday Gutu explained the youth leaders remarks saying; The statement was made against a particular background. My understanding of that statement, issued by a high ranking member of the MDC Youth Assembly, was to the effect that look we cannot just stand aside and watch while the police force and other security agents bother us. That is what I understand that statement to mean not to say go out and attack police or security agents.

The MDC-T has long been on the receiving end of ZANU PFs violence and torture. Hundreds of supporters have been killed, tens of thousands tortured and hundreds of thousands have lost their homes and their livelihoods.

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