|215 MDC supporters and officials still in detention
By Tererai Karimakwenda
April 26, 2008
Hundreds of MDC supporters and officials that were arrested by police at the party headquarters in Harare on Friday are still in detention. The offices at Harvest House were raided as part of a campaign by police to confiscate documents and information relating to the elections held last month. MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said property was destroyed in the building and police confiscated all computers and equipment used by the MDC at their election command centre.
The police also raided the offices of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) on Friday, and searched for what their warrant termed “subversive material”, but no arrests were made. They asked the programmes manager, Tsungai Kokerai, to accompany them to the police station “to assist with investigations”. No arrests were made.
Harare based journalist Angus Shaw said information on the arrests has been extremely difficult to come by. The state media confirmed that 215 supporters and officials are in the cells. The police spokesperson, Assistant Police Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena, reportedly said that the arrested would be screened for various crimes, but most are suspected of involvement in political violence. Yet reports from around the country say that it is the police, armed soldiers and ruling party youths who are conducting the violence.
Many of those detained already needed medical treatment after being beaten and tortured in the rural areas from where they fled. Shaw said he drove by the police station on Friday and saw women with babies on their backs, children and youths, hardly the types to conduct a violent campaign against the government. With no information available, it is not clear when they will be released.