|Police arresting MDC election candidates and supporters
By Tererai Karimakwenda
04 March, 2008
The MDC formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai have reported that police continue to arrest their candidates and supporters as they peacefully campaign around the country. MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said the police are coming up with trumped up charges in order to keep them in detention. He believes they are trying to curtail their campaign activities by intimidation.
The latest arrest took place in Bulawayo on Monday. According to Chamisa police arrested Tabitha Khumalo, a party official and parliamentary candidate, while she was meeting voters door to door. It is not clear why, but Khumalo was released around midnight.
Meanwhile the MDC candidate for St. Mary’s, Marvellous Kumalo, plus 12 MDC supporters, are in police custody. Chamisa said they were arrested on Sunday while distributing posters. The police allege that they were carrying prohibited weapons and are charging them with inciting public violence. Chamisa said there was no violence at any time and they had no weapons. The group was remanded in custody till March 18th.
Chamisa said there have been other arrests of candidates and supporters around the country under similar circumstances. Reports this week have come from parts of Masvingo province and from the Mbare high-density suburb of Harare. But the MDC said rural areas are being targeted even more.
Chamisa complained that there is no way the elections can be free or fair. He explained that the Tsvangirai MDC is only participating because they want to “utilise every instrument of democracy” at their disposal.