Lionel Saungweme | Police in Bulawayo have arrested four Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) members suspected of masterminding violence that rocked the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) offices on Sunday 4 March 2018.
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Law and Order Department arrested 20 MDC-T activists among them Bulawayo Deputy Mayor, Gift Banda, MDC-T National Youth National Secretary for Elections, Kunashe Muchemwa, Bulawayo Provincial Youth Chairman, Mlandu Ncube, business tycoon, Felix Mhaka, Donald Mabutho, Eric Gono, Michael Mabasa, Sibongubuhle Sibanda, Edith Moyo, Takunda Madzana, Robson Tera, Garikai Mugova, Samukeliso Maseko and Raymond Gombedza. The activists are charged with contravening Sec 36 (1) of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act (public violence).
“My clients are the actual victims of violence. They are innocent,” said lawyer Bruce Masamvu of Dube-Tachiona and Tsvangirai Legal Practitioners, who is representing all accused persons. Masamvu was accompanied by Emmanuel Mlalazi of Dube-Banda, Nzarayapenga and Legal Practioners.
The accused were fingerprinted before signing warned and cautioned statements. Police have not indicated whether the accused will be released. However, it is not known whe the accused will be brought court as police investigations are continuing. It is also not known how many witnesses MDC-T National Organising Secretary, Abednigo Bhebhe will enjoin to his case. The violence saw 15 party activists injured, two luxury vehicles damaged and party offices vandalised.
The violence, according to sources allegedly started when MDC-T Vice President Thokozani Khupe’s supporters gate-crushed a 4 March 2018 Provincial Elections Directorate meeting at the party offices in Bulawayo.
However, MDC-T National Organising Secretary, Abednigo Bhebhe states that, “As you are aware that there is a misunderstanding within the party hierarchy, we had called the structures to come and discuss….”
Bhebhe alleged that “in the middle of the meeting we started hearing stones coming through the durawall.”
However, Bulawayo Provincial Spokesperson, Felix Mafa, who is accused of backing MDC-T Acting President Nelson Chamisa disagrees.
“Stones were hurled at delegates attending the elections directorate meeting. After they threw stones, they then seized the party offices,” he said.
In the ensuing skirmishes Khupe’s driver, Witness Dube was assaulted. Two luxury vehicles belonging to Khupe and a South African-based Zimbabwean business Chief Zidlekhaya Ndlovu were extensively damaged.
Ward 16 Chairman Malusi Fuyana sustained 27 stitches and is detained at Mpilo Central Hospital. A total of 14 individuals were also injured in the violence.