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Zimbabwe: MDC-T violence claims dismissed
Posted: Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Crime Reporter
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
The Herald

The MDC-T yesterday falsely claimed that its so called displaced supporters being housed at the Ruwa Rehabilitation Centre were attacked by soldiers in a desperate bid to portray an image of increasing political violence in the post presidential run-off period.

But Government has dismissed the allegations saying the move was calculated to put Zimbabwe on the spotlight at the G8 Summit underway in Japan.

The Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Cde Nicholas Goche said the incident was stage-managed by the alleged eight victims. The BBC reported yesterday morning that some MDC-T activists who are being housed at the centre after they were displaced from their homes in violence leading to the presidential run-off election were allegedly assaulted by the uniformed forces.

"This incident was stage-managed and meant to coincide with the G8 Summit taking place in Japan to ensure that Zimbabwe is put on the agenda." It is also meant to say that political violence is increasing in Zimbabwe and people continue to be beaten so that they say there is continued violence in Zimbabwe but the situation is not consistent with what is on the ground," Cde Goche said.

He said it was also meant to push the British agenda to effect a regime change in Zimbabwe by putting the country on the centre stage at the United Nations Security Council. "It was also meant to create a situation where the UN says action has to be taken. This is just a stage-managed incident to put Zimbabwe in the spotlight," he said.

The international Press had already put on their diaries the alleged attacks on Sunday even before they happened. As part of the strategy, MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday went to Chitungwiza to visit a factory belonging to MP Willas Madzimure which was said to have been petrol bombed with the international and local opposition Press in tow. But when he found no people at the factory Tsvangirai left in a huff and in the evening had the Western media rushing to his Strathaven house following claims that he was about to be assassinated. Again the media left Strathaven empty-handed. Cde Goche said the Ruwa incident was meant to tarnish the image of the country. He said from interviews with the alleged victims, it appeared that the stampede that occurred at the centre was started by some of the alleged victims.

"From interviews it would appear that they were not injured from this morning's event but were already injured. It would also appear that they are not necessarily displaced people but brought by the MDC-T to be polling agents and turned them into displaced people when they decided not to take part in the elections," he said.

Cde Goche, who visited the centre yesterday afternoon together with the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Cde Patrick Chinamasa, said the matter would be fully investigated. The two are the Zanu-PF negotiators in the inter-party talks with the MDC factions. Cde Goche said they would discuss the matter with their MDC-T counterparts. He also said as soon as investigations were complete, the so-called displaced people would be taken back to their homes. Mashonaland East provincial medical director Dr Simukai Zizhou said the alleged victims confirmed there was a stampede but all had received medical attention. He said all of them did not sustain injuries from the stampede but had injuries already. Police Officer Commanding Harare Province Senior Assistant Commissioner Fortune Zengeni said preliminary investigations had revealed that the stampede was caused by the alleged victims.

Snr Asst Comm Zengeni said police had reacted swiftly and the allegations by the alleged victims had turned out to be a hoax. He, however, said police would get to the bottom of the matter. Meanwhile, the principal of the centre Mr Sneddon Soko said the incident was unfortunate but the centre had adequate security. He said the incident had affected students and the so-called people should be moved out as soon as possible.

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