Daily News Journalists Arrested

The two, Xolisani Ncube a reporter and Anne Mpalume photographer were arrested together with journalists from the Herald while covering the clashes which turned central Harare into a war zone.
However the Herald journalists were quickly released leaving the two Daily News journalists detained at a police post in First Street.

Mpalume was later released after she was forced to delete all her pictures but Ncube who was arrested last month together with the Daily News editor Stanley Gama was not so lucky.

He was taken to Harare Central Police Station where he was bundled together with vendors who had been arrested and accused of smashing the First Street police post and injuring a police officer.

Ncube was released later in the evening after the intervention of Daily News lawyers without charge.

The police clashed with the vendors after they tried to arrest them and confiscate their wares under a joint police and city of Harare clean-up operation. The operation is designed to clean up the city of unregistered vendors most of who have clogged the city’s pavements and walkways.

However the vendors have vowed to fight back and resist the clean up arguing that they have no jobs and have been reduced to vendors as many of the companies that they used to work in were long closed.

Wednesday’s clash was the second such clash in as many months. Last year the police clashed with vendors leaving a couple of police officers injured. Then, the police accused MDC activists of masterminding the attacks on the police.

On Wednesday police spokesperson, Chief Superintendent, Oliver Mandipaka again accused the MDC members of the disturbances.

“They are MDC members who are masquerading as vendors. These are people who operate in front of Harvest House and somewhere near Harvest House selling pirated CDs,” said Mandipaka adding that they had arrested six people in connection with the clashes.

Several anti riot police vehicle could be seen patrolling the streets of Harare circling around Nelson Mandela Avenue and Jason Moyo Avenue.

Several shops along First Street were forced to close shop during the running battles.

There are fears that police’s continued clampdown on vendors might spark a wider crisis as witnessed in Tunisia. The famous Arab spring started in Tunisia when a vendor set himself alight after he had his wares confiscated by the police.