The MDC is gravely concerned by what is fast becoming clear that the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and Zanu PF hooligans are targeting the MDC for harassment, violence and wanton arrests on trumped-up charges of public violence. The police have become openly and undisputedly partisan in that in cases of any skirmishes involving youths from rival political parties, it is the MDC that suffers most.
At the moment, dozens of MDC youths have been arrested and charged with public violence, a sizeable number is nursing gunshot and stab wounds in hospitals, hundreds are being hounded out of their homes, and MDC property is being destroyed with impunity. In all these cases, none of the Zanu PF activists have been arrested and charged – all because of the bias of the police, especially in Harare, against the MDC. The MDC condemns the stance taken by the police as it has the potential to inflame an already volatile situation and could easily turn the citizens against legitimate law enforcement institutions.
Should the police continue to flout its Constitutional mandate in pursuit of a tired and partisan Zanu PF agenda, the MDC would have no choice other than to urge its supporters to defend their families and property with the full understanding that state has failed them. For the past two weeks, Zanu PF youths have been running amok in Mbare, Budiriro, Epworth and other parts of the country, which saw one MDC youth, William Mukuwari of Budiriro being shot by a known Zanu PF supporter, Godfrey Gomwe.
The culprits in all the violence cases were identified but the police have not made any arrests but MDC youths who are the victims have been arrested for reporting to the police. Yesterday, Shingirai Gorekore, an MDC Youth Assembly activist in Mbare, Harare was hospitalised after he was attacked by Zanu PF youths at the MDC Mbare offices in front of the police. Nine of Gorekore’s friends including Paul Gorekore, a Harare city councillor are in police custody after being arrested at the offices. One of the youths in police custody is Barnabas Mwanaka who is recovering from injuries sustained after his arm was broken by the Zanu PF youths last week. He had to spend a week in hospital. Since they were arrested yesterday police officers have denied them food saying they are working on orders from above.
It is cheerless and deplorable that some ZRP officers have been reduced to be political commissars for other parties denying the people their basic right – freedom. The police are showing clear signs of being openly partisan and if left unchecked and unchallenged will cause unnecessary disturbances. The regretful actions of Zanu PF youths in Mbare will soon drag Zimbabwe backwards into our dark past if the police continue to look aside and not take any action. The MDC accepts the role of the police and will always support a professional, non-partisan police service.