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Zimbabwe Police Disrupt MDC Alliance Meeting Amid Tense Political Situation

FILE: Protestors stage a "illegal" protest
FILE: Protestors stage a "illegal" protest

The Movement for Democratic Change led by Nelson Chamisa claims that police on Sunday disrupted a party meeting in Harare West and briefly detained top MDC Alliance leader.

In a statement, the MDC Alliance said youth secretary for Harare province, Denford Ngadziore, was picked up by police at the meeting and was briefly detained at Malbereign Police Station where he was asked to sign a warned and cautioned statement and released.

“Harare West constituency is represented in Parliament by Hon Joana Mamombe who is currently serving a pre-trial imprisonment together with Cecilia Chimbiri at Chikurubi Maximum Prison for no apparent crime. Since the senseless conviction of Makomborero Haruzivishe last week, the regime is running paranoid fearing a backlash from angry youths ahead of his impending sentencing on Tuesday.”

The MDC Alliance further claimed that indications are that the Mnangagwa government has failed to fulfill its 2018 election promises and is now resorting to “harassment, abductions, pre-trial detentions and convictions to silence the ever growing number of politically conscious youths. This explains the continued detention and conviction of our youth leaders for no crime at all.”

Police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, was unavailable for comment as he was not responding to calls on his mobile phone.

The ruling Zanu PF party says opposition leaders are attempting to subvert a constitutionally-elected government following their defeat in the 2018 harmonized elections.

The United States and European Union claim that Mnangagwa’s government has been cracking down on political opponents following the 2018 disputed elections.

In its 2020 country report on human rights practices, the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor said security forces engaged in such practices with impunity and with implicit support of government officials.

“NGOs reported security forces abducted, assaulted, and tortured citizens in custody, including targeted assault on and torture of civil society activists, labor leaders, opposition members, and other perceived opponents of the government. Throughout the year police used excessive force in apprehending, detaining, and interrogating criminal suspects. In some cases, police arrested and charged the victims of violence rather than the perpetrators and accused abduction victims of filing false reports.

“Human rights groups reported government agents continued to perpetrate physical and psychological torture on labor leaders and opposition party members during abductions. Reported torture methods included sexual assault; beating victims with sticks, clubs, cables, gun butts, and sjamboks (a heavy whip); falanga (beating the soles of the feet); forced consumption of human excrement; and oral chemical poisoning, as well as pouring corrosive substances on exposed skin.”

According to the report, as of November there were a minimum of five reports of short-term abductions and assaults or torture allegedly performed by state security actors.

Zanu PF has dismissed the report saying there are no human rights violations in Zimbabwe.