Police raid Harvest House and arrest four people

Heavily armed riot police carried out two raids at Harvest House on Thursday looking for vendors they alleged were linked to Wednesday’s disturbances in the city centre.

We had reported on Wednesday that the capital was briefly turned into a war zone after street vendors clashed with police trying to close down their stalls. Around 10 policemen surrounded vendors between First Street and Nelson Mandela Avenue. Vendors were furious at having their wares impounded and retaliated by throwing stones.

On Thursday our correspondent Simon Muchemwa told us the police were out in full force, looking for the ‘culprits’ in what the MDC-T called ‘a disproportionate show of force.’

‘The police brought three trucks loads, carrying over 100 heavily armed riot officers, to arrest four people. Many innocent people were caught up in the crossfire as the police went about beating innocent people on the streets.

‘It was a show of force in harassing and detaining harmless residents. People were saying this is typical of the police, which sees itself as beholden to the elite in ZANU PF while daily intimidating and brutalizing ordinary Zimbabweans,’ Muchemwa said.

One senior MDC-T official expressed shock over the number of police officers who swooped on Harvest House to execute the search for the vendors. He described the raid as ‘harassment’ and questioned the motive behind the police actions to search for the vendors at the MDC headquarters.

The MDC-T Youth Assembly released a statement saying those arrested were members manning the party regalia shop, located on the ground floor of Harvest House. The statement said the reason for the arrests is unknown. The party identified the four as Jephias Moyo, Leonard Dendera, Patson Murimoga (a musician) and one named only as Nerwande.

‘We condemn the arrests. This is a deliberate ploy by an old and idealess organization to destabilise and disturb the Youth Assembly activities and operations. The arrests are unconstitutional and therefore, illegal. We call for their immediate release,’ the Youth Assembly statement said.

A team of lawyers was dispatched to Harare central police station to act on behalf of those picked up. – SW Radio Africa News

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