SOME elements within Zimbabwe’s security forces continue to allow themselves to be used by Zanu PF to abuse people’s freedoms, the two MDC parties have charged.
The parties this week made separate claims of incidences where police and the military had allegedly been used by the former ruling party to further its interests while committing human rights abuses and political violence.
The MDC-T led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai charged in a statement on Wednesday that at least one of their supporters was abducted in Masvingo at gunpoint by a known assailant, but the police refused to open a docket on the matter on the grounds that the issue was too political for them to get involved.
“The Masvingo South district secretary, Elson Mutonhori was abducted at gunpoint on Saturday morning by one Major Toperesu over a petty issue of putting on MDC-T party regalia,” the MDC-T said in the statement. “Renco Mine police refused to open a docket arguing that the matter was too political for them to be involved.”
The MDC-T said they were however surprised that at the same police station dockets for MDC-T supporters were quickly opened.
They said Reason Mujaka, the MDC-T Ward 24 youth chairperson was arrested, hastily taken to court and locked up at Mutimurefu Prison where he was already serving a six-month sentence for engaging in an altercation with a war veteran who had assaulted his father.
They said such actions by Zanu PF wrongfully placed “the image of Zimbabwe’s patriotic security sector, which is necessary to protect integrity, autonomy and the interests of Zimbabweans”.
National Police spokesperson, Wayne Bvudzijena, however dismissed the allegations and said police were professional in their approach to duty.
“There is no selectivity in the manner we treat cases of political violence and the procedure of arresting a person is that the provoker is the one who is arrested,” Bvudzijena said.
The MDC faction led by Welshman Ncube also claimed they experienced a lot of unfair treatment from the police during the just-ended MDC National Congress.
Nhlanhla Dube, the MDC National Media, Information and Publicity spokesperson, said two of his political party supporters were arrested for wearing MDC T-shirts during their national congress last week.
“We had actually wanted the police details present during the congress but they demanded $13 000 for them to provide security which we could not afford. When these two were arrested we thought it was curious that in the first place the police refused to provide security at the public event but later arrested our supporters on spurious grounds.
“As a political party we are a breathing entity in Zimbabwe which has a right to existence and so we encourage fair treatment from the police,” Dube said.
Henry Chimbiri, the MDC Provincial Chairperson for Mashonaland Central said police in Guruve were openly partisan.
He cited an incident which allegedly happened on January 7 when Zanu PF youths blockaded the road between Mahuwe and Bakasa growthpoint with stones and logs to prevent their supporters from attending the national congress.
“The Zanu PF youths hid in the nearby bushes and started throwing stones at our supporters. A fight erupted between them and our supporters, but the police came and arrested 47 of our supporters while no Zanu PF supporter was arrested,” said Chimbiri.
He said the arrested supporters were locked up at the police station resulting in them failing to attend the congress. They were later made to pay US$20 fines before being released.
Bvudzijena however insisted police were not partisan and that they always arrested the first perpetrator.
“I am not privy to what happened during the MDC congress but we always arrest the first perpetrator, unless if there is general public disorder,” said Bvudzijena.
He said the police always charged a fee for provision of security services when requested to do so, but in the case of the MDC, he was not aware of the amount they were charged when they asked the police to provide security at their congress.