Two more activists of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai were arrested Tuesday in connection with last year’s death of police inspector Petros Mutedza in Harare’s Glen View high density suburb.
The party reacted angrily over the arrest alleging that the move is designed to destroy its structures ahead of crucial general elections next year.
The arrest of the MDC’s Glen View ward chairman Jackson Mabota and Tarirai Kusotera, chairman of the district youth assembly, comes at a time when MDC-T youth chairman Solomon Madzore and 28 others have been languishing in jail for over a year for their alleged involvement in the murder of Mutedza.
The 29 are due to appear in court for a bail hearing on Wednesday.
Police spokesman for Harare province, Inspector James Sabau, told VOA Studio 7 the two are assisting police with investigations over the officer’s death.
Sabau said formal charges against the two activists are yet to be preferred although they remain in detention at Harare Central Police Station.
MDC-T organizing secretary Nelson Chamisa said police are being used as pawns to destabilize the party’s structures ahead of fresh elections which President Robert Mugabe says may be held next March.
The two MDC formations in the inclusive government remain adamant that any fresh polls in Zimbabwe should only be held following key democratic reforms.
Chamisa called on the Southern African Development Community, the African Union and other international bodies to send envoys to Zimbabwe to assess the security situation before elections are conducted.
Chamisa, who is also the Minister of Information Communication Technology, said security sector reforms remain a key element in holding free and fair elections in the country.
The MDC said charges against its members are politically motivated but Nkululeko Sibanda, an analyst who specializes in African politics at the UK-based Huddersfield University, believes that these cases have more to do with corruption and bad policing standards than politics.
“The Youth Assembly is not necessarily the best campaigner in Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC and the outcome of the election or referendum does not depend on these few individuals.
“The MDC will carry on with or without them and I don’t think Zanu PF or the police would believe this is a game-changing arrest, so I don’t see any strategic reason or rationale for doing that for political reasons.”
Sibanda said the police may have "scores to settle in the local area with the local people to avenge the death of their colleague”.