By Farirai Machivenyika
MDC — Alliance supporters went on a rampage, destroying property worth tens of thousands of dollars following the July 30 harmonised elections, the Commission of inquiry into the post-election violence that rocked Harare on August 1 heard yesterday.
This was said by a witness who testified before the commission, which started its public hearings yesterday.
The commission is chaired by former South African President Cde Kgalema Motlanthe.
Apart from the destruction of property, the MDC-Alliance supporters also attempted to burn down the Zanu-PF Harare Provincial Headquarters.
Losing Zanu-PF candidate for Ward 6, Harare, in the elections Cde Nyasha Zenda said the mob tried to burn a bus while he was inside as he attempted to flee from a parking space along Simon Vengai Muzenda Street (formerly Fourth Street) near the party’s provincial headquarters.
“I got to the parking lot and when I got into the bus intending to drive it away, one of the demonstrators came to the driver’s side and told me that I had to choose between being burnt while inside the bus or let them just burn the bus,” Cde Zenda said.
He said efforts to negotiate with the youths that the bus was his personal property and not party property were ignored.
“I reported the matter to the police and after a week I managed to identify one of the people that were involved in the incident and he is out on bail,” he added.
Mr Peter Zimowa — who is employed at the ruling party’s provincial headquarters — described how the MDC-Alliance youths tried to burn down their offices.
“It was on August 1 and I had gone to work as usual. As the day progressed, we saw a group of people marching along Robert Mugabe Road and they turned into Fourth Street. They were singing songs in support of Mr Chamisa and also indicated that they did not agree with the results that did not show that their candidate had won. The group first pulled down
“They then burnt down three cars including a party vehicle,” Mr Zimowa said.
A security officer with Zimbabwe Newspapers Group Mr Walter Matanga also narrated how the MDC Alliance youths destroyed windows at Herald House after they had failed in their attempts to gain entry into the building.
“It was around 2pm when we heard people singing passing through Second Street and they turned into Nelson Mandela and went to their party office.
“They then returned after about 15 minutes and proceeded to Fourth Street and moments later we saw smoke coming from that direction indicating that something was burning.
“They then returned marching along Jason Moyo Avenue and then turned into Second Street. When they reached our offices they attempted to enter the building but failed because we had already locked the doors. They then started throwing stones and broke some window panes on the first floor of the building,” Mr Matanga said.
The other members of the commission are UK lawyer Rodney Dixon, former Commonwealth Secretary General Chief Emeka Anyouko, Retired General Davis Mwamunyange, former Chief of Defence Forces of the Tanzania People’s Defence Force, UZ lecturer Professor Charity Manyeruke, Professor of Political Science University of Zimbabwe (UZ), Professor Lovemore Madhuku and Ms Vimbai Nyemba, Former President of the Law Society of Zimbabwe.
Six people died following the violent demonstration by the MDC Alliance supporters which resulted in the police calling in the army to assist in quelling the violence.