By Upenyu Chaota
The clampdown on the ring leaders of the national shutdown that left a trail of destruction and over 12 civilians dead at the hands of security forces across the country is a Zanu PF ploy to target MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa’s support base ahead of the party’s national elective congress slated for October this year, the biggest opposition party has alleged.
The MDC Alliance has more than once distanced itself from the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) organised national shutdown that rocked the major cities but many MDC Alliance leaders have been arrested charged with subversion while others have gone into hiding.
MDC Alliance national chairperson and leader of the opposition in parliament, Thabitha Khumalo, told TellZim News that the current clampdown by Zanu PF forces was aimed at shaking Chamisa’s support base ahead of their congress.
“The big question you should ask them is why are they targeting all key members who are known to be loyal to president Chamisa? We did not organise the national shutdown but all our people are being victimised. I cannot tell you more because I am also in hiding but we will not be broken,” said Khumalo.
Khumalo wrote a letter to Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda on January 21, 2019 complaining the wanton arrests of opposition legislators on what she said were trumped up charges.
“Some MDC Alliance legislators have been arrested and persecuted for the stay away which, as common knowledge has it, was called for by the suffering working class of Zimbabwe. Their call for the action was motivated by the various socio-economic challenges that are bedeviling our nation. Obviously, the hiking of fuel price and its ripple effects to the general cost of living.
“Consequently, some of the MPs are being charged for alleged attempts to subvert the sitting Zanu PF government. In this regard we strongly feel that these are trumped up frivolous charges meant to frustrate and prejudice their social standing and that of the MDC-Alliance.
“For your record and urgent attention, the following legislators have been unfairly arrested Mbizo’s Settlement Chikwinya, Redcliff’s Lloyd Mukapiko, Mkoba’s Amos Chibaya and Chiwundura’s Levi Chiminya.
“A host of other MDC legislators are being threatened and haunted by the state security agencies. All is being done for no good reasons. It must be highlighted to you that Opposition MP’s are also Citizens who deserve respect just like their Zanu PF counterparts thus we call upon you to always ensure that this remains the case always,” wrote Khumalo.
Chamisa’s foot soldier and national organiser Chibaya is still on the radar of law enforcement agents facing inciting violence and subversion charges. He was only given bail by the Masvingo High Court on February 06 after two weeks in remand prison on inciting public violence and subversion charges.
MDC Alliance national youth league boss Happymore Chidziva said he was still being hunted by the police and has been under their watch.
“I am safe for now, they said they will call me if they have an issue. Our people need not to tire because we will triumph over evil and we will stand by our president Chamisa,” said Chidziva.
MDC Alliance Mashonaland Central provincial youth chairperson, Tonderai Samhu and four colleagues were on Monday given six-year jail terms each by Bindura magistrate Vongai Guwiro for taking part in the violence during the shutdown in Mvurwi.
Zanu PF national spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo could not be drawn into comment as he said he was getting into a meeting.
“I am getting into a meeting,” said Moyo before hanging up.
Zanu PF is said to be working underground to fund MDC Alliance members chief among them vice president Elias Mudzuri to contest Chamisa for the presidency at congress.
Attempts to block Chamisa have been futile after Zanu PF mooted an idea of using their two thirds parliamentary majority to amend the constitution and raise the presidential age limit from 40 years to 52 years.