Scores of people, including Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) Members of Parliament, were arrested Saturday when hundreds of people staged peaceful protests in various parts of Zimbabwe demanding sweeping electoral reforms before the 2018 general elections.
Several parties – the MDC-T, Zimbabwe People First led by former Vice President Joice Mujuru, Tendai Biti’s People’s Democratic Party, Transform Zimbabwe, MDC led by Professor Welshman Ncube and several others – staged the peaceful protests under a coalition known as then National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA).
MDC-T vice president, Nelson Chamisa, told VOA Studio 7 that his Kuwadzana constituency in Harare resembled a war zone as police beat up protesters.
MDC-T lawmaker Ronia Bunjira was arrested in the capital city’s Waterfalls suburb together with several others who were staging a peaceful march at Parktown Shopping Center.
In Bulawayo, MDC-T vice president Thokozani Khupe led the protest while in Mutare, Manicaland province, Mutasa MDC-T lawmaker Trevor Saruvaka was arrested by the police for leading the street march.
At the same time, human rights lawyers’ groups, Abammeli and the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, teamed up and managed to initiate the release of several people who were picked up by the police for engaging in similar protests in Gwanda.
Gwanda Central MDC-T Member of Parliament was among people who were arrested by the police in the Matabeleland South provincial capital.
Some protesters were also arrested in the Midlands province’s Gweru and Zvishavane towns and other urban areas, including Kadoma, Chinhoyi and Chinhoyi.