politics

Biti, Kore arrested as police seal-off MDC HQ to aid Khupe takeover

HARARE – Police arrested five senior MDC Alliance officials on Friday after they attempted to enter the party’s Harare headquarters, which is being occupied by a rival faction. The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was thrown into turmoil by a March 30 Supreme Court ruling which said Nelson Chamisa’s ascendancy to the MDC-T party leadership was irregular – but Chamisa had by then formed the MDC Alliance party, which contested the July 2018 elections, winning 110 seats in the National Assembly and Senate. Thokozani Khupe, Chamisa’s leadership rival in the MDC-T who participated in that election as leader of the MDC-T, won two seats. Most MDC members still regard Chamisa as their leader and accuse President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government of siding with Khupe’s faction in the battle for c...

Soldiers, police help Khupe seize control of MDC Alliance HQ

HARARE – Troops and armed police on Thursday night seized the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance’s headquarters in central Harare, before facilitating the building’s occupation by a rival faction, the party said. “In the dead of night, armed soldiers and police aided (Douglas) Mwonzora youths to forcibly enter Harvest House,” the MDC Alliance said in a statement early Friday. “Their unlawful actions have nothing to do with constitutionalism and everything to do with capturing the opposition at any cost. Political power comes from the people, not soldiers.” Mwonzora, the MDC Alliance’s former secretary general, previously wrote to the police in April on behalf of a party called the MDC-T, asking for help in capturing the building. The latest political manoeuvres follow a ruling of the ...

MDC rejects activists’ abduction ‘cover-up’, presses for independent probe

HARARE – The MDC Alliance on Thursday poo-pooed the interim findings of a government investigation into the abduction, torture and sexual assault of three female party activists, saying it was not credible. Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe on Thursday read out an eight-page “update” on “progress made so far” by a government-ordered multi-agency inquiry into the May 13 incident, concluding that the women – who include Harare West MP Joana Mamombe – had lied about their abduction and torture. The MDC Alliance said Kazembe’s statement was an “unfortunate and desperate attempt by the authorities to stage a cover-up and save face following the state’s well documented history of enforced disappearances.” Mamombe, Netsai Marova Cecilia Chimbiri, who had earlier participated in an anti-govern...

Chamisa vows ‘enough is enough’ as his lawyer Mpofu freed on bail

HARARE – MDC leader Nelson Chamisa on Wednesday vowed “enough is enough” as he warned that homes have become “dens of poverty”, accusing the government of mishandling the coronavirus outbreak and clamping down on civil liberties. Chamisa attended the court appearance of his lawyer Advocate Thabani Mpofu, who was freed on Z$20,000 bail by a Harare magistrate. Mpofu, arrested on Sunday, was accused of improperly luring a client from another law firm; filing an affidavit with a court by someone who “does not exist” and allegedly plagiarising the same affidavit to be used in a separate application. His lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa said the charges were trumped-up. “We must say enough is enough. We can’t continue like this. People are suffering with this perpetual (coronavirus) lockdown, with no clar...

MDC Alliance ends boycott of Parliament after strategy questioned

HARARE – The MDC Alliance ended its boycott of Parliament on Wednesday, a day after 18 of its 84 MPs defied the party whip and attended a sitting of Parliament. The MDC Alliance boycotted parliamentary proceedings starting May 8 to protest against the dismissal of four of its legislators at the behest of a faction opposed to the party leadership. The decision to end the boycott was taken following a meeting of the party’s National Council in Harare, said spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere. “It is resolved that following consultation with our structures and constituents, our MPs and councillors are to immediately resume in Parliament subject to further review. We maintain that it is unlawful and a misconstruction of reality for any other party to withdraw MDC Alliance MPs from Parliament,” Mahere ...

Khupe says she has ‘expelled’ Chamisa from MDC-T, snubbed by Alliance MPs

HARARE – Nineteen MDC Alliance MPs defied a party directive to boycott Parliament on Tuesday, but the rebellion was far short of the numbers Thokozani Khupe needed to convince her backers that she can seize control of the party. Khupe, leader of the MDC-T party, simultaneously announced that she had expelled MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa, adding to the chaos in the opposition ranks triggered by a Supreme Court judgement in April. Among the MDC Alliance MPs who turned up in parliament were Hatfield lawmaker Tapiwa Mashakada, Kariba MP John Houghton and Glen View South MP Vincent Tsvangirai, the son of the party’s founding leader, the late Morgan Tsvangirai. Mashakada said he still supported Chamisa, but disagreed with the strategy to boycott parliament announced after Khupe recalled fo...

MDC youth leader Obey Sithole charged over May 13 protest

HARARE – MDC Youth Assembly leader Obey Sithole on Tuesday became the sixth person to be charged over a May 13 anti-government protest in Warren Park. Sithole presented himself to a police station in Harare in the company of his lawyers, and was expected to appear in court on Wednesday. The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said Sithole faced charges of participating in an illegal demonstration. Last week, authorities turned a hospital into a makeshift courtroom as three female MDC activists who took part in the protest before being abducted, tortured and sexually abused, were also charged. Harare West MP Joana Mamombe, Netsai Marova and Cecilia Chimbiri’s ordeal began on May 13 when they were arrested at a police roadblock as they returned from the demonstration, which caught authorities ...

Mnangagwa locks down Harare amid fears of opposition protests

HARARE – Police and soldiers turned away motorists and ordered morning commuters to disembark from ZUPCO buses and walk home during a heightened enforcement of a coronavirus lockdown on Tuesday. Long queues developed at several police checkpoints around Harare. Witnesses said police were only allowing security services and medical professionals through. The new measures appeared aimed at foiling potential MDC Alliance protests outside the Harare Magistrates Court where Thabani Mpofu, a lawyer for MDC-A leader Nelson Chamisa, was due to appear charged with obstructing the course of justice. President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime also faced opposition anger as MDC-T leader Thokozani Khupe, who has hijacked the MDC-A party in Parliament, is expected to expel those who resist her takeover. Khup...

US warns Zimbabwe it ‘won’t get away’ with Floyd killing ‘pleasure’

BULAWAYO – The United States warned its “foreign adversaries”, including Zimbabwe, that they would not get away “for free” with jabs aimed at America following the killing of a black man by a police officer who chocked him with his knee. Robert O’Brien, a top U.S. security adviser to President Donald Trump, singled out China, Iran and Zimbabwe as some of the countries that have been “fomenting unrest” following the May 25 killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. “I’ve seen a number of tweets from the Chinese today that are taking pleasure and solace in what they’re seeing here,” O’Brien told ABC News. “I want to tell our foreign adversaries, whether it’s a Zimbabwe or a China, that the difference between us and you is that that officer who killed George Floyd, he’ll be investigat...

Court throws out MDC Alliance challenge to Khupe MP expulsions

HARARE – The High Court on Friday threw out an application by the MDC Alliance seeking to stop the MDC-T party from recalling more of its MPs from parliament. Justice Tawanda Chitapi of the Harare High Court said the MDC Alliance was improperly before the court as it was not a legal persona, and therefore had no legal standing to bring the application. MDC Alliance MPs Happymore Chidziva and Wellington Mariga, who joined in the suit, were seeking to interdict the Speaker of Parliament from acceding to any more recalls, after four MDC Alliance lawmakers were expelled at the behest of the MDC-T. Justice Chitapi did not get into the merits of the case, and made a point of saying he was not bound by an earlier finding by fellow judge, Justice Nyaradzo Priscilla Munangatri-Manongwa, who found t...

US embassy demands arrests as bail reduced for abducted MDC trio

HARARE – The United States embassy on Friday called on Zimbabwe to arrest and prosecute the people behind the abduction and torture of three female MDC youth activists. The three women were charged for breaching coronavirus lockdown regulations on Wednesday, and had the money component of their bail reduced by a court on Thursday. Harare West MP Joana Mamombe and youth assembly activists Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova are still hospitalised at Parktown Hospital in Waterfalls. They were first arrested on May 13 after staging a demonstration against the government’s failure to provide food for impoverished families affected by coronavirus-induced restrictions, before they were abducted from a police station by men believed to be state security agents. Bail had originally been set at Z$3,...

Zimbabwe says abduction of MDC activists ‘stage-managed theatre’

HARARE – Foreign Affairs Minister Sibusiso Moyo on Monday freshly denied that state security agents were behind the recent abduction, torture and sexual abuse of three MDC female activists. The three, including Harare West MP Joana Mamombe, were likely victims of a “third force” or willing participants in a “stage-managed theatre”, Moyo claimed in an astonishing statement, even as he chided western diplomats for “jumping to conclusions.” Moyo said authorities were “investigating all aspects of the allegations”, adding: “The government will await the outcome of the investigation before drawing any conclusions. Investigations will be conducted with the prime objective of exposing and prosecuting the perpetrators, if any, or exposing the involvement of a possible third force.” The regime has ...

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