Enraged Chamisa savages ED, Govt
OPPOSITION leader Nelson Chamisa has savaged the government after police raided his party’s offices on Friday in a surprise move which has once again raised political tensions in the country, the Daily News on Sunday reports. This comes as President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Chamisa are under growing pressure all round to end their long-running political feud and hold urgent talks which are seen as the only way of stopping the country from plunging into total chaos. The raid also followed a controversial earlier decision by the police to ban Chamisa from holding a “state of the nation” address that was scheduled for Harare’s high density suburb of Mbare. Yesterday, the MDC boss described Mnangagwa’s government as worse than that of the minority Rhodesian regime — after hordes of armed police descended on the main opposition party’s Morgan Richard Tsvangirai (MRT) offices in the capital, in search of “machetes and subversive material”. “These are terror tactics. Even the Rhodesians did not go to the extent of raiding Zanu offices during the war. “What they (the government) want is to control and capture the opposition … There is no government that behaves like that. “The conduct and behaviour of Zanu PF points to an opposition mindset. They oppose people’s happiness … dignity … people’s freedoms,” Chamisa told the Daily News On Sunday. He also said the police actions were once again attracting unnecessary attention to the country. “They said they were looking for machetes. This is so embarrassing for the ruling party. Who will do business with such a banana republic? “Zanu PF is shooting itself in
the foot. In their eyes we are not MDC, we are a rebellious movement. “We have a big problem on our hands … I will not reveal our next course of action, but we are obviously alarmed by the behaviour of Zanu PF,” the miffed Chamisa said further. On Friday, authorities raided the MDC’s national headquarters in central Harare, saying they were searching for machetes and other subversive materials. Police spokesperson Paul Nyathi defended the raid yesterday, saying this had been carried out within the confines of the country’s laws. “The police were performing their duty in terms of maintaining law and order. There was nothing sinister in terms of the search, as this was issued by the courts,” he said. According to the search warrant, police were looking for machetes and other subversive materials that they believed were being kept at the MDC’s offices. “From information on oath, there is reasonable grounds of believing that there is possession of or under control of occupiers or upon in Harvest House or Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House certain articles, that is to say machetes and other subversive materials, which are concerned or on reasonable grounds believed to be concerned in the commission or suspected commission of a crime,” the search warrant read in part. Chamisa said the droves of riot
police officers who had invaded the MDC’s headquarters had predictably left with “nothing but love”. “They didn’t find what they were looking for and left our headquarters with love and breathing the air of freedom,” he said. Friday’s raid came as former South African president Thabo Mbeki — who is mediating talks between Mnangagwa and Chamisa — is expected back in the country soon to resume his valiant efforts. Mbeki — who helped to broker the stability-inducing 2008 government of national unity between former opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Mnangagwa’s predecessor Robert Mugabe, who are both late — has impressed upon both Mnangagwa and Chamisa the
urgent need to work together to end the country’s economic crisis. His visit to Harare in December was part of plans by the regional Sadc bloc and the AU to end Zimbabwe’s long-running political dispute, which is threatening to destabilise the entire sub-region. Last week, an international human rights group challenged current South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to use his position as the new chairperson of the African Union (AU) to help end Zimbabwe’s deepening political and economic crisis. Ramaphosa will assume the rotational chairmanship of the AU at the end of this month — amid concerns that the seemingly never-ending Zimbabwe crisis will continue to impact on South Africa very negatively, as has been the case over the past two decades. “Due to dire circumstances a lot of Zimbabweans are trying to cross the border by whatever means to make it into South Africa, and then we get back to the crisis of xenophobia. “South Africa … has a responsibility as it takes over as AU chairperson this year to help resolve the Zimbabwe crisis,” Human Rights Watch Southern Africa director, Dewa Mavhinga, said at the launch of the organisation’s 2020 World Report in Johannesburg last week. Mnangagwa and Chamisa have previously and separately said they were willing to engage in dialogue
to end the country’s growing crisis. However, and despite their encouraging statements, no formal and direct talks have taken place between them. On his part, Mnangagwa has remained resolute in his demands that any talks with Chamisa should be held under the platform of the political actors’ dialogue (Polad) — where he regularly holds meetings with leaders of fringe opposition parties, who a large cross section of Zimbabweans has dismissed as tokens, particularly as the youthful MDC boss is not part of this structure. Chamisa himself has repeatedly ruled out joining Polad — demanding instead direct dialogue with Mnangagwa. In 2009, Mugabe was forced into forming a government of national unity with Tsvangirai after the hotly-disputed 2008 polls. Tsvangirai was widely believed to have beaten Mugabe hands down in those polls. However, the results of the elections were withheld for six long weeks by stunned authorities — amid widespread allegations of ballot tampering and fraud, which were later revealed by former bigwigs of the ruling Zanu PF. In the ensuing sham presidential run-off, which authorities claimed was needed to determine the winner, Zanu PF apparatchiks engaged in an orgy of violence in which hundreds of Tsvangirai’s supporters were killed — forcing the former prime minister in the inclusive government to withdraw from the discredited race altogether.