DOZENS of baton wielding anti-riot police on Wednesday besieged the opposition MDC-T’s Harvest House headquarters in central Harare demanding some baton sticks allegedly seized from their colleagues during an afternoon demonstration by party youths.
For the better part of the afternoon, a truckload of police officers was stationed right in front of the party building, preventing its workers from exiting the building. Two other police vehicles full of cops were also parked across the busy road.
In a Facebook posting during the siege, top MDC-T staffer and Morgan Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said police were demanding their helmets.
“Am currently marooned inside Harvest House, the MDC headquarters,” he said.
“An armoured police vehicle with some 40 or so policemen is right at the entrance while about 50 armed police are at the back of the building.
“There are about 12 of us still inside the building. They are saying they want a police helmet and a baton, without explaining where, how and why those things should be inside the building.”
Tamborinyoka continued: “When I tried to go out, about 10 armed riot police charged towards me, saying no one will go out of the building without the police getting their helmet and baton. Cry, the beloved country, under the AU and SADC chair.”
Party spokesperson Obert Gutu accused the ruling Zanu PF of attempts to harass his party.
“This is the usual thuggery of the Zanu PF fascist regime,” he said in an interview with NewZimbabwe.com.
“They just want to instil fear and harass MDC cadres and employees. They are just disturbed by the breath-taking popularity of the party and this is one of their routine ways of trying to clamp down on the democratic space.”
When the police descended on the MDC-T headquarters, party sources suggested they were looking for journalist turned pro-democracy activist Itai Dzamara who was abducted on Monday morning.
Zanu PF has denied any involvement in the journalist’s disappearance with party spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo insisting the MDC-T knew about his whereabouts and was riding on the journalist’s disappearance to regain political relevance.
And as police blockaded the MDC-T headquarters, the State controlled Herald ran an online story accusing party youths of public violence.
“Rogue MDC-T activists today (Wednesday) beat up the police during a foiled demonstration during a demonstration outside the Parliament building in Harare,” reported the Herald.
“The less than 30 MDC-T activists held placards demanding the release of freelance journalist and opposition activist Itai Dzamara.
“Dzamara’s whereabouts are unknown and MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Tuesday claimed Zanu PF abducted the little known journalist cum activist.”