Police Arrest Tsvangirai’s Allies Over Mangoma Assault

Harare, February 24, 2014 – Zimbabwean police on Monday arrested two senior allies of MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai for allegedly assaulting the opposition party’s deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma.

Police arrested Harare central constituency legislator Murisi Zwizwai and Dennis Murira, two lieutenants loyal to Tsvangirai. Murira served as a senior aide in Tsvangirai’s office during the tenure of the coalition government where the opposition leader served as Prime Minister.

Zwizwai and Murira’s lawyer Benjamin Chikowero of Gutu and Chikowero Attorneys confirmed the duo’s arrest during a telephone interview while at Harare Central Police Station where he was assisting the MDC-T leader in recording warned and cautioned statements.

The arrest of Murira and Zwizwai brings to the three the total number of people arrested over Mangoma’s alleged assault.

On Saturday, police first arrested MDC-T youth leader James Chidhakwa and charged him with assaulting Mangoma in contravention of Section 89 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act (Chapter 9:23) before launching a manhunt for some suspects.

The MDC-T youth leader appeared in court on Saturday morning after spending a night in police detention.

Radio VOP understands that the police are also interested in questioning Shakespear Mukoyi, the party’s Harare province Vice Chairperson, former Mbare councilor Paul Gorekore and some party youths.

Mangoma recently filed a police report at Avondale Police Station claiming that he had been assaulted by supporters loyal to Tsvangirai after a party leadership meeting held at Harvest House, the MDC-T headquarters last weekend. Mangoma drew the ire of Tsvangirai and other party supporters after he called for the resignation of the former trade union leader outside the party’s formal structures.

The former trade union leader has already condemned the harassment of party leaders and recently publicly stated that the youth who “yanked” Mangoma’s shirt outside the party headquarters will “face the music”.

On Sunday, Mangoma received unfamiliar support from President Robert Mugabe who blamed and castigated Tsvangirai for instigating the assault on Mangoma.