The Herald (Harare)

15 March 2013

Zimbabwe: Police Warn Against Violence

Police have warned people against engaging in political violence in the wake of a series of reported cases of MDC-T intra-party violence.

Police spokesman Superintendent Paul Nyathi yesterday said the force would "ruthlessly deal" with any individuals involved in violence.

He said on March 9, a group of MDC-T supporters accosted a Murehwa District Council official Moses Gwashure accusing him of pulling down the party's posters.

The youths were coming from a meeting addressed by MDC-T deputy secretary general Tapiwa Mashakada.

Supt Nyathi said the activists then confiscated the official's bicycle.

A report was made to police leading to the arrest of Passmore Chihakwa (35) who is now facing theft charges.

Supt Nyathi said other cases of violence were recorded in Zaka East on March 10 when MDC-T held a rally at Zibhowa Business Centre.

He said there was a confrontation during the rally between James Gumbi, the party's Zaka East treasurer and aspiring MP and Shadreck Chikwanda.

Supt Nyathi said reports indicate that Gumbi grabbed Chikwanda by the collar and a scuffle ensued.

At the same venue, Felix Tambare MDC-T aspiring Ward 20 councillor fought with Tafara Chinoda who is the ward chairman. Chinoda slapped Tambare twice.

"We are warning people against any form of violence. Any violence would be dealt with in terms of the law," he said.

In Zvishavane, 10 MDC-T supporters yesterday appeared before Zvishavane magistrate Peter Tomupei Madhibha facing charges of public violence which left several people seriously injured and hospitalised.

The 10 accused Michael Costas Temvious (50), Allen Zhou (34), Allison Zhou (25), London Matondo (25), Francis Mashoko (50), Trust Matanga (50), Malvern Tawanda Pfunda (28), Khulekhani Ndlovu (35), Innocent Hungwe (38) and Charles Shava (39) were remanded in custody to this morning for bail application.

They are facing charges of public violence as defined in Section 36(1)(20(b) of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act Chapter 9:23. The State alleges that on March 10, 2013 at Chiedza Hall in Mandava, Zvishavane, the 10 acted in concert to unlawfully and forcibly disturb the peace or order of the public by throwing chairs, stones, empty beer bottles and other missiles at each other.

During the process of organising party structures, one Leopold Mudisi, who is the aspiring legislator for Zvishavane-Ngezi, arrived at the hall and when he was about to enter, his supporters lifted him up and started chanting party slogans hailing him as their candidate.

At that time supporters of Michael Temvious, who was seated inside the hall, were also chanting party slogans praising him as their candidate.

Temvious then proceeded to the main entrance in the company of Kulekani Ndhlovu and other youths who tried to deny Mudisi entry.

Temvious tried to punch Mudisi but missed and punched Vincent Machokoto on the neck.

At that time Francis Mashoko and London Matondo who were at Falcon Bar incited youths who were with them to charge at Temvious and his supporters throwing stones, empty beer bottles, punching and kicking them in the process.

The youths included Allan Zhou, Alison Zhou and Trust Matanga.

Temvious' supporters retaliated by throwing stones and chairs and it was during the fight that a number of people from both factions sustained serious injuries and were hospitalised at Zvishavane District Hospital with some transferred to Gweru Provincial Hospital.

The injured included Allan Zhou, Alison Zhou, Matanga, Tawanda Pfunda, Simbarashe Pamwa Vutete and Friday Fofana who was seriously injured. Mr Talent Tadenyika appeared for the State.

This is the fifth time MDC-T meetings in Zvishavane have ended prematurely because of violence. Ngezi has no structures and it being run by an interim committee. A number of the party's national executive members, including Mr Eddie Cross, have been to Zvishavane in a bid to sort out the burning issues but have failed because the meetings always end prematurely because of violence.

"Our President has always been preaching peace. This only shows the violent nature of the MDC-T and they have been blaming Zanu-PF for this all along.

"As residents of Zvishavane we do not condone this kind of behaviour. We are a peace-loving district and we urge residents of Zvishavane to adopt the 'peace begins with me, peace begins with all of us slogan,"' said Moses Zulu, the former Zanu-PF Zvishavane District secretary for administration.

The MDC-T has been quick to accuse Zanu-PF of violence including the tragic death of 12-year-old Christpowers Maisiri of Manicaland Province who died in a fire in which the police ruled out foul play.

On Wednesday, President Mugabe expressed concern over reports of resurgence in political violence and urged people to vote peacefully in the referendum and elections.

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