Police swoop on MDC-T HQ nets 215
Posted: Saturday, April 26, 2008
April 26, 2008
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POLICE yesterday arrested 215 people after raiding MDC-T's Harvest House headquarters in central Harare on allegations of committing acts of political violence countrywide and going into hiding.
Police also searched offices of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network in the city seeking evidence showing Zimbabwe Electoral Commission officials were paid through ZESN to corruptly alter the outcome of the March 29 elections.
Chief police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said the information they had indicated that most of those who had participated in post-election violence had sought refuge at the MDC provincial and national headquarters.
"Police rounded up 215 people at Harvest House this afternoon and these will be screened against participation in politically motivated criminal activities around the country," he said.
Asst Comm Bvudzijena said just after the elections, police issued a statement that they had observed, with concern, the reactivation of the MDC-T's so-called democratic resistance committees to establish bases to operate countrywide.
Since then there had been isolated cases of violence around the country with the most recent being the burning of four homesteads, tobacco barns and fowl runs belonging to Zanu-PF supporters in the Mayo resettlement area in Manicaland on April 16.
"Those accused of burning the homesteads were said to have fled to Harare to seek refuge at the MDC headquarters. This is not the first time the MDC headquarters have been raided.
"Last year after the petrol bombings in Harare and around the country some suspects sought refuge at the MDC headquarters and a similar raid was conducted. The suspects were picked up during the raid," said Asst Comm Bvudzijena.
He said police would not tolerate any acts of violence by anyone and for any rea-
son. Those who commit crimes should expect the long arm of the law to catch up with them, whether they were Zanu-PF or MDC.
"The police will pursue such perpetrators until they are finally brought to book and hiding at party offices should not be seen as an escape route from prosecution," he said.
Asst Comm Bvudzijena appealed to victims of political violence to immediately report at any nearest police station so that the cases could be attended to quickly.
Heavily armed police were seen milling around Harvest House yesterday afternoon keeping a close eye at the premises.
MDC-T spokesperson Mr Nelson Chamisa confirmed the raid.
"They have raided our offices and they did not produce any search warrant. They took away victims of violence, those people who were beaten up in the rural areas including women and children who were being attended to by our social welfare desk," he said.
Mr Chamisa claimed that the police also took away the opposition party's members of staff based at Harvest House.
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