Matebeleland North cops disrupt MDC activities

The police in Matebeleland North under senior assistant commissioner Edmore Veterai have become the most hostile in the country towards the MDC. So far this year the province’s police force has arrested more than 40 MDC politicians and human rights activists.

Veterai, a war veteran who is as an avid self-confessed Zanu (PF) supporter, has been at the forefront of farm invasions in his home province of Chiredzi. In June 2008, the police in Matebeleland North impounded Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s armoured BMW vehicle, which is still gathering dust outside Lupane police station.

Last week Veterai banned MDC-T rallies scheduled for Victoria Falls, Lupane and Binga over the weekend. Deputy Prime Minister, Thokozani Khuphe, lambasted Veterai and said the rallies would go ahead.

The previous week, the same police force banned MDC-T rallies scheduled for Nkayi North. Despite the party obtaining a High Court order to suspend the ban, the police riot squad disrupted the rally at Nesigwe Business Centre. Khupe described the ban as ‘absurd’ and ‘uncalled for’ because the Prime Minister has executive powers and authority. The police have to respect that, she said.

MDC-T leader Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is expected to be the guest of honour at the rallies to drum up support for his party in the forth coming by-elections.

The courts recently ruled that by-elections should be held as soon as possible in Lupane East, Bulilima East and Nkayi South after the seats fell vacant following the ousting of the previous legislators in 2009 from the smaller MDC faction for undermining the party’s leadership when it was still being led by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara. The ousted legislators are Abednico Bhebhe of Nkayi South, Njabulo Mguni of Lupane East and Norman Mpofu of Bulilima East.

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