By Nomalanga Moyo
19 March 2013
Four MDC-T supporters arrested in Kwekwe last week Friday have been released, after the state said charges against them were unclear and refused to prosecute.
The lawyer for the four, Reginald Chidawanyika, told SW Radio Africa that the police indicated they will proceed by way of summons once they had completed further investigations.
The activists, Searchmore Muringani, Alex Senge, Malvin Chivhu and Ngoni Tinarwo, were hauled before Kwekwe Magistrates Court on Monday accused of assaulting two ZANU-PF youths.
The youths gate-crashed an MDC-T rally addressed by party secretary-general Tendai Biti at Mbizo 4 suburb on March 13th, leading to the alleged assault.
But the case against the four stalled after head of prosecution at the magistrates’ court indicated the matter could not proceed as the charges were unclear and full of contradictions, Chidawanyika told the press Thursday.
The two ZANU-PF youths, Blessing Chikwira and Libson Jaure, were also arrested and remain in custody on charges of disorderly conduct in a public place. They will appear in court Wednesday.
Chikwira and Jaure have alleged links to terror group Al Shabaab, a ZANU PF militia squad that carries out violent campaigns against the party’s perceived foes.
Meanwhile in an increasingly common trend at election times, a group of about 20 suspected soldiers based in Chipinge on Sunday assaulted an MDC-T parliamentary hopeful Livingstone Vulume.
The soldiers, from Joko 2 Brigade, kicked and dragged Vulume on a gravel road for being an opposition activist.
MDC-T spokesperson for Manicaland province, Pishai Muchauraya, confirmed the attack to the NewsDay newspaper and said Vulume sustained bruises all over the body as a result.
Muchauraya also said that the same soldiers attacked another activist, Chrispen Rambo, for putting up “Vote Yes” posters ahead of last Saturday’s referendum.
Kwekwe Member of Parliament for the MDC-T, Settlement Chikwinya, said while his party is now used to arrests, acts of harassment and intimidation by ZANU PF, it is the use of state security personnel that is particularly worrying.
Chikwinya said: “In the case of the four Kwekwe activists, the police arrested them without carrying out proper investigations. This is not just a case of incompetence, but a calculated move to frustrate and instill fear in our supporters.
“And when the police say they will proceed by way of summons the aim is to ensure that the four live in constant fear of being re-arrested. This is intimidation,” he added.
Chikwinya revealed how soldiers beat up MDC-T supporters at a rally in Zhombe last month. He said acts of violence committed by Zimbabwe’s security forces are set to rise as the harmonised general elections draw nearer.
His comments come in the wake of reports that military personnel and central intelligence officers on Monday were seen around the offices of The Zimbabwean newspaper. The paper suspects this is linked to a story it published last week, amid revelations that the paper’s editor had received suspicious ‘unknown’ calls.
Earlier this month, police arrested Radio Dialogue’s Zenzele Ndebele as part of an ongoing crackdown on independent radio stations. Ndebele was told the police will ‘proceed by way of summons’, a situation which he said is meant to inconvenience and intimidate him.