43 MDC Alliance MPs are on the run or being harassed

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CHENGETAI ZVAUYA

Over 40 of MDC Alliance’s 63 MPs in Parliament are either on the run or have been harassed by security forces following the violent protests that rocked the country three weeks ago, the party has disclosed. The violence left a trail of destruction in its wake.

Nelson Chamisa, the party’s president told the media: “About 43 of our MPs have either been harassed or are being harassed with their lives in serious danger. Some of the party’s staff have also been targeted, and some have been assaulted. According to Chamisa, some of the legislators have been arrested and these include Amos Chibaya, Settlement Chikwinya, Livingstone Chimina, Rosemary Nyathi and Lloyd Mukapiko. “Regrettably, the State is in denial,” Chamisa said. “Instead of showing accountability and taking responsibility, some in the State apparatus have manufactured a list and a catalogue of falsehoods, scapegoats, excuses, justifications, and convoluted explanations to justify the arrest of the legislators.”

He said councillors from his party have also been arrested together with party supporters.

Some of the arrested councillors, according to Chamisa, are: Elvis Ruzani and Munyaradzi Kufahakutizwi (from Hatcliffe and Mabvuku respectively) Simbarashe Nyahuye and Charles Ngenya in Marondera; Elias Sithole, the Epworth Ward 5 councilor; and Michael Gore from Kadoma. Some of them have however already been acquitted.

Chamisa said: “The police are arresting them and linking them to the riots. Our party spokesperson, Jacob Mafume, who is a councillor, has gone under as the crackdown continues.” The MDC Alliance leader said he was not aware of a social media footage showing Godfrey Sithole, one of the party’s MPs, encouraging people to cause a riot.

“I don’t know about the video that is circulating, we need to study it and see the contents of the pictures,” Chamisa said. “I know that there is a massive crackdown on my party legislators as a way of trying to destabilise my party, by the state.”

He said the opposition party was still compiling a comprehensive list of its MPs, staff and supporters who had been harassed or being harassed by state security forces.

He named some of the MPs who are in hiding as: Tabitha Khumalo, the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly; Godfrey Sithole (MP for Chitungwiza North), Job Sikhala (Zengeza West), Maxwell Mavhunga (Chitungwiza South), Chalton Hwende (Kuwadzana East), Happymore Chidziva (Highfield West), Joana Mamombe (Harare West), and Voice Chinake, (the senator for Mashonaland West).

Chamisa said many of the party’s MPs have refused to attend parliamentary sessions for fear of being arrested by the police. But Cain Mathema, the minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage said the opposition MPs were among the people who are on the police wanted list for leading the violent protests.

“The police are doing their job and wanting to arrest the people who were involved in the violent protests, and this includes the MDC Alliance members of parliament.

There have to be accountable for their actions and must face the wrath of the law,” Mathema added.

Property worth more than $300million was destroyed during the protests. Early this week, some of the arrested MDC Alliance MPs were granted bail by the High Court judge, Justice Martin Makonese.