MDC Mashonaland Central provincial chairperson George Gwarada has condemned the recent arrest of 12 suspected protesters in Mvurwi and Guruve, saying the move was meant to weaken their support base in the Zanu PF stronghold.
By Simbarashe Sithole
“As MDC, we strongly condemn the arrest of our supporters in Mvurwi and Guruve. All the suspects were denied bail, which is their constitutional right.
But it is not surprising to us since Zanu PF was shocked with our performance after managing to pick council seats in major towns around the province,” Gwarada said on Monday.
Eleven MDC activists were arrested in Mvurwi and one in Guruve, and were remanded in custody to Friday, while 49 others were still at large.
They are accused of participating in last week’s protests over the high costs of fuel, which turned violent.
“The protests were a nationwide thing. What some of our supporters did was to respond to the call by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions for a stayaway,” Gwarada said.
“Every Zimbabwean responded, including some Zanu PF supporters in the province, but our members were arrested, although no looting or violence was reported in Mvurwi and Guruve. So why are our people languishing in remand?”
However, the Thokozani Khupe-led MDC-T spokesperson Linda Masarara said she did not pity those who were arrested or assaulted as they were used as pawns by MDC leader Nelson Chamisa in his desperate bid to push for a government of national unity (GNU).
“I do not feel sorry for those arrested or assaulted by the security forces because they are being used by Chamisa to push for a GNU. But the way he is doing it, is wrong. I said it in November last year when they went on a rampage, burning infrastructure as a way to force government into a GNU,” she said.
“We know Chamisa is a product of G40 since he does business with [deposed President] Robert Mugabe, but his idea of using violence is very barbaric. Those being used belong to the prison, so they should be in prison because that is where they belong.”
Last Friday, the Zanu PF Mashonaland Central provincial co-ordinating committee gathered in Bindura and reportedly submitted reports from districts on last week’s protests before urging members to go to work in the province, despite more alleged calls for protests this week.