Police Target Tsvangirai Loyalists, Youth Leader Arrested Over Mangoma “Assault”

Harare, February 22, 2014 – Zimbabwean police have charged MDC-T youth leader James Chidhakwa with assaulting the opposition party’s deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma as it emerged that a manhunt has been launched for the arrest of some senior party leaders loyal to party leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Chidhakwa, the MDC-T youth secretary for security and defence was arrested Friday and charged with assaulting Mangoma in contravention of Section 89 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act (Chapter 9:23).

The MDC-T youth leader appeared in court on Saturday morning after spending a night in police detention before he was remanded in custody to Monday when he returns to court to hear a verdict on his bail application filed by his lawyer Benjamin Chikowero of Gutu and Chikowero Attorneys.

Radio VOP has also gathered that police officers have launched a manhunt for some senior MDC members including Harare central constituency legislator Murisi Zwizwai, Dennis Murira, a close lieutenant to Tsvangirai, 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.

Tsvangirai 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”.