Radio VOP has it on high authority that the latest police crackdown in Matabeleland is being coordinated by the Matabeleland North police chief, Assistant Commissioner Edmore Veterai.
Despite court rulings allowing the mainstream Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to conduct their campaign rallies in the region; police have maintained their stranglehold and barred rallies in Binga, Lupane and Victoria Falls in recent weeks.
Douglas Mwonzora, the MDC-T national spokesperson said “the police are trying to deter and slow down MDC-T campaign machinery and their behavior last weekend raises fundamental issues, the police went beyond disrupting MDC-T rallies, they also disrupted and interfered with the work of the PM, they barred him from visiting key state institutions as part of his government work”.
Dumisani Nkomo, a political analyst has urged the MDC-T to stay put in the coalition government despite secret plots by Zanu-PF to muscle it out.
“Police in Matabeleland are intolerant and they have been banning a number of non-governmental organisations’ meetings fearing unearthing of the Gukurahundi atrocities” said Nkomo.
Professor Welshman Ncube, leader of MDC’s smaller faction said that his party has not been spared from rights abuses in the same province.
“In the past few months we also had running battles with Commissioner Veterai when he arrested and detained Honorable Moses Mzila. On our way from Victoria Falls he made us sit down on the floor and told the media that he was briefing us about their activities “said Ncube.
The police spokesperson Superintendent, Oliver Mandipaka has denied allegations leveled against police force.
“What you are saying are lies, it is not in the interest of the police to comment on that issue, l am not obliged to give you a comment, you are not my employer,” shouted Mandipaka.
MDC-T has threatened to report the disruption of their rallies to Parliament, with PM Tsvangirai seeking an audience with President Robert Mugabe over police actions.
The MDC-T claim the ongoing disruption to their rallies is part of efforts to harm its leader, and force the party to quit the coalition government ahead of elections expected before next March.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights has indicated that Matabeleland North province is the most politically volatile province in the country, with over 40 political and human rights figures arrested by police since the beginning of the year.