Police on Monday raided the headquarters of the Movement for Democratic Change led by Nelson Chamisa in the capital, Harare, following the discovery of helmets of uniformed forces in a nearby building.
The police also searched all vehicles making their way into the city’s central business district amid serious security concerns by local people and arrested some MDC activists in connection with the helmets.
Luke Tamborinyoka, head of the MDC communications department, said they were forced to shut down all operations as police “camped” at the party headquarters “without any apparent reason”.
In a statement, the party said, “Armed police have laid siege at the MDC headquarters starting early this morning in what is clearly a choreographed attempt to clamp-down on the peaceful people’s movement. First was a story in the Zanu PF-controlled media in which the police said they had discovered anti-riot and municipal helmets at Robinson House in Harare which they are surprisingly trying to link to the party headquarters.
“For the record, the MDC is a peaceful and non-violent political movement with a Constitution that clearly stipulates the peaceful manner in which the party will always prosecute its democratic struggle.
“A few months ago, the police purported to have discovered catapults and stones again near the MDC headquarters. Today’s attempt is the second attempt in the past few months to link the people’s peaceful movement with a primitive, barbaric and Stone Age political script that involves stones, bricks and catapults. The illegitimate regime is getting desperate and all these are frantic attempts to ban and proscribe legitimate political activity; just as they have done with peaceful demonstrations.”
Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said their investigations led to the discovery of over police helmets.
He said the discovery of the helmets resulted in the heavy police presence in most parts of the capital city where “they are maintain law and order as prescribed in Zimbabwe’s constitution.”
The MDC noted that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has pressed the panic button due to the high cost of living in Zimbabwe. According to some economists, the current hyperinflation in the country may spark peaceful demonstrations.
“Available evidence points to the fact that in the past 12 months, it is the Mnangagwa regime that has killed people, both in August 2018 and in January 2019 and the perpetrators have not been brought to book. It is this regime that poses a threat to the safety of citizens and any attempt to implicate the MDC will not wash.
“Zimbabweans know that it is Zanu PF that is violent and it is Zanu PF that has a blood-soaked history. Instead of clamping down on prices, a deteriorating economy, unemployment and power and fuel shortages, the ED regime has thought it prudent to clamp down on a legitimate political party going about its business.”
The MDC still maintains that Mnangagwa was not legitimately-elected by Zimbabweans in 2018. But Zanu PF says the presidential, parliamentary and local government elections were free and fair.