“They have arrested Sibanda accusing him of defying the police ban as he was putting the Prime Minister’s posters advertising one of our rallies scheduled for Chinotimba Stadium in Victoria Falls on Sunday. They have since locked him up at the resort town police station, but we have already alerted our lawyers,” Sengezo Tshabangu the MDC-T Matebeleland North provincial chairman told Radio VOP.
On Wednesday Matebeleland North police banned three MDC-T rallies which were supposed to be held in Victoria Falls, Binga and Lupane. Tsvangirai, who is touring government projects in the province, was expected to address the rallies to drum up support for his party in the forth coming election. The MDC-T has vowed to go ahead with the rallies despite police ban.
The rallies are expected to kick start today Friday afternoon in Binga, Lupane on Saturday and Victoria Falls on Sunday ahead of three by-elections which are expected soon in Matabeleland.
Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe in Bulawayo on Thursday blasted, Matebeleland North police chief, Edmore Veterai saying he has a grudge with MDC-T.
“There is this police officer called Veterai, I don’t know what his problem is. He has all along been fighting to derail our programmes in the province. Recently in Nkayi he also fought hard in trying to stop our rallies, but let he be warned that we are not going to take none of it,” said an angry Khupe.
After the disruption of his Nkayi rally last Saturday Tsvangirai also warned Veterai saying he is now politicising the force and was applying the law selective by harassing and arresting political activists week in week out.
Police in Matabeleland North have been preventing Tsvangirai from campaigning in the province since the run up to the June 27 2008 presidential run-off poll. His armoured BMW campaign car was seized by police in the provincial capital, Lupane and has not been released.
According to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) Matabeleland North is now the most hostile province in the country as police have so far arrested or harass more than 40 politicians and human rights activists since January.