MDC Alliance pushes for Chinamasa arrest  

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THE MDC Alliance has laid a formal criminal complaint against Zanu PF acting secretary for information Patrick Chinamasa for allegedly inciting violence, the Daily News on Sunday reports.
This comes as Friday’s protest against corruption, which had been called by opposition parties and civil society organisations, flopped after the police and the army tightened Covid-19 national lockdown measures, restricting movement of citizens.
MDC Alliance youth secretary Agency Gumbo and spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere lodged a complaint against Chinamasa, Zanu PF war veterans secretary Douglas Mahiya, politburo member Mike Bimha and director of information Tafadzwa Mugwadi with police, Prosecutor General Kumbirai Hodzi and Chief Magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi.
The duo want warrants of arrest issued against the four Zanu PF officials.
Gumbo and Mahere claimed that Chinamasa incited violence by calling on Zanu PF members to crush the opposition and any other protesters on July 31.
According to an affidavit filed by Gumbo, on July 27 Chinamasa called a press conference and made comments intended at demonising the opposition movement, civic society and the United States of America (USA)’s diplomatic mission in Zimbabwe.
“With the intention of stirring up anarchy, despondency and genocide, the defendant criminally labelled the MDC Alliance a terrorist organisation and thus stimulated an attitude of violence against the opposition movement in the same manner witnessed during the Gukurahundi phase in the 1980s,” Gumbo said.
“The defendant went further to make a plea to his Zanu PF supporters that they had a legal right to violently confront protesters on July 31 whom he labelled as MDC Alliance supporters and loyalists.
“It was alleged that following Chinamasa’s statement Zanu PF supporters wielding machetes and axes subsequently issued a video declaring violence against the MDC Alliance.”
Addressing the press last Monday, Chinamasa said Zanu PF members should defend themselves against violence and accused US ambassador Brain Nichols of sponsoring a regime change agenda. He labelled Nichols a thug.
“During the August 1 2018 … and 14 January 2019 violence … our supporters phoned us from Chiredzi, Chipinge, Masvingo asking for protection. We were unable to provide them that protection and safety then. What we are saying to our supporters and people is that they must know that when they are attacked (on Friday), law enforcement agents may not be anywhere near the scenes of crime. They must know that in those circumstances, their first line of defence is themselves and their families,” Chinamasa bellowed.
“They have got a legal and constitutional right to defend themselves, their families, spouses, children, property and possessions. Don’t ask for permission from anybody, it’s your constitutional and legal right. Don’t be intimidated by hooligans and mercenaries. Don’t be like sitting ducks as you were in August of 2018 and January 2019 phoning us. No, this time use any means at your disposal to defend yourselves and we are saying this unambiguously,” Chinamasa added.
In August 2018 and January 2019, several people were shot and killed by security forces during respective violent demonstrations over the delayed release of election results and steep fuel price hikes.
The government blamed the opposition and pro-democracy groups at the time of fomenting the violence which brought back into sharp focus Harare’s respect for constitutional freedoms and human rights.

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