By Tichaona Sibanda
SW Radio Africa
7 May 2014
A senior MDC-T official has said it is both incomprehensible and outrageous for the police to arrest their activists only, following violent clashes in Epworth on Sunday.
Reacting to reports that authorities have arrested up to eight MDC-T members since the clashes three days ago, with no single individual from ZANU PF being picked up so far, the official said it is clear the police have become the unofficial militant wing of the ruling party.
He said the arrests highlight the selective enforcement of laws in Zimbabwe where offending ZANU PF officials and members are never arrested while those from opposition parties are thrown into custody on the flimsiest of charges.
14 MDC-T activists were injured on Sunday, two of them seriously, when they were set upon by ZANU PF youths in Epworth following a rally held there by party leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
In the aftermath of the disturbances ZANU PF and the police have launched a propaganda war blaming the MDC-T for the violence. The state media reported on Wednesday that at least 16 ZANU PF supporters in Epworth suffered multiple injuries on Sunday afternoon when they were brutally assaulted by MDC-T supporters attending a rally addressed by Tsvangirai.
However Obert Gutu, the MDC-T spokesman for Harare province, told us on Monday the violence against their members was meticulously planned by ZANU PF. Tsvangirai went further by naming ZANU PF MP Amos Midzi for instigating the violence. The former ZANU PF Ambassador however denied he was responsible for what happened in his constituency.
Political analyst Gideon Chitanga told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday it is clear ZANU PF has resorted to its traditional method of dealing with political opponents, following Tsvangirai’ successful rally.
‘The violence was a shock reaction to the popularity of Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC. After the elections ZANU PF was pushing the idea that the MDC-T was on the decline.
‘They did not expect a huge turnout in a constituency that is held by a ZANU MP, hence the violence and now the roping in of the state institutions like the police to harass, arrest and intimidate opposition supporters,’ Chitanga said.
The weekend violence was the first such incident since the elections last year when ZANU PF was making pronouncements that the MDC-T was dead and buried following its heavy ‘defeat.’