Officials of the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in Mashonaland Central province said five youth members were arrested on charges of undermining President Robert Mugabe's authority.
Local MDC official Jacob Gwature said two members were arrested Sunday and three others were picked up Monday on allegations they chanted the slogan “Mugabe mudenga, rovera pasi” at a youth forum in Glendale, Mashonaland Central.
The Shona slogan means, “Mugabe up, then on the ground.”
Gwature said the five were being held at Bindura Central Police Station, and that officers of the Zimbabwe Republic Police's law and order section were seeking three others.
Bindura Central police officers would neither confirm nor deny the arrests.
Gwature told VOA reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that the arrests were intended to intimidate the MDC ahead of elections generally expected to be held in 2012, as Mashonaland Central province has traditionally been a ZANU-PF stronghold.
Meanwhile, MDC Member of Parliament for Mkoba Amos Chibaya, arrested Sunday on allegations of public violence at Guinea-Fowl shopping center in Mberengwa, Midlands province, was freed on US$50 bail by a Gweru magistrate.
Chibaya was charged along with Midlands South MDC Treasurer Livingstone Chiminya after they went to the police station at the shopping center to file a complaint after their vehicle was stoned by alleged ZANU-PF supporters on Saturday.
Lawyer Reginald Chidawanyika, representing the two, said his clients, who are denying the charges, were expected back in court on November 8.