Police in the farming town of Rusape in Manicaland on Friday arrested two Tsvangirai MDC officials and three journalists as opposition supporters celebrated the granting of bail to the party’s organizing secretary for Makoni Central constituency, Tazviona Marima, following his incarceration Wednesday.
The journalists, freelancer Sydney Saize, Bernard Chiketo and Kenneth Nyangani of the Daily News and Newsday newspapers respectively, had been covering Marima’s court appearance.
Marima was granted $100 bail after being charged with criminal nuisance.
Chief Superintendent Garikayi Gwangwava and the Officer Commanding Makoni Central District, Superintendent Enock Chishiri, among other officers, took turns to interrogate the journalists and profiled them, noting down their identification details and their residential addresses.
Saize, Chiketo and Nyangani were only released after the interrogation sessions and after the ZRP members and officers rummaged through their notepads, recorders and cameras.
MDC-T spokesperson for Manicaland, Trevor Saruwaka, told VOA the situation in the normally sleepy town is bad.
“It’s painful because we have once again witnessed police brutality at its best,” he said.
“People did not do anything wrong. They just came to give solidarity to colleague who had been arrested wantonly for not doing anything wrong. People were just celebrating Marima’s bail and the riot police, who were armed to the teeth and numbering much more than the MDC activists, brutally assaulted people, setting dogs on them.”
The two MDC-T officials arrested are David Tekeshe, the party’s deputy provincial treasurer, and Valentine Ziswa, the MDC-T’s shadow secretary for agriculture.
Saruwaka said the police have now taken Tekeshe to Rusape General Hospital for treatment.
“The truck was full of armed police details and to think they were only taking an unarmed ordinary man to hospital,” he said.
The MDC-T had planned an anti-Mugabe demonstration in the town Friday but Marima’s arrest and court appearance changed their plans.
Saruwaka said the lawyers representing the activists and the journalists were blocked access to their clients.