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Zimbabwe Police Arrest 10 MDC Lawmakers in Finance Ministry Incident

  • Ntungamili Nkomo

Police on Wednesday arrested 10 legislators of the formation of Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change formation led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who sought a meeting with Finance Ministry Permanent Secretary Willard Manungo.

The arrests occurred after the legislators went to the Finance Ministry to seek information on loans to be provided to members of Parliament for purchase of service vehicles.

Lawyer Tafadzva Mugabe, representing the legislators, said they were arrested at Manungo’s office in Harare while waiting in a conference room to speak with him.

Police Superintendent Andrew Phiri said the legislators were charged with criminal nuisance.

"They invaded the permanent secretary's office and complained about the delay in securing their car loans. We arrested them and charged with criminal nuisance," Phiri told VOA. He said the former opposition politicians were being held at the Harare Central Police station.

Tsvangirai MDC Deputy Spokeswoman Thabitha Khumalo condemned the arrests and accused the police of working in conjunction with President Robert Mugabe's former ruling ZANU-PF party to prosecute lawmakers to whittle down her party's thin parliamentary majority.

Five former opposition MPs have been convicted on a variety of charges in recent months and about a dozen others face prosecution for crimes ranging from rape to corruption.

One of the arrested lawmakers, Makoni South Member Pishai Muchauraya, told reporter Ntungamili Nkomo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe while in police custody that their arrest was political, saying Permanent Secretary Manungo is a known ZANU-PF stalwart.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...