HARARE – Police arrested the Movement for Democratic Change’s organising secretary and MP Amos Chibaya on Thursday on charges of failing to stop a banned protest last week in Harare, his lawyer said.
Chibaya’s arrest came as police opened an investigation after the home of the MDC’s Marondera Central MP Caston Matewu was shot at early Thursday.
The unidentified gunmen fired at the MP’s house, vehicle and a water tank in the 2.30AM raid.
The MDC, which accuses President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government of repression and economic mismanagement, called a demonstration last Friday as the start of a nationwide protest movement but it was banned by the police.
But some opposition supporters still turned up for the protest and were subsequently dispersed by police who used batons, teargas and water cannon.
Chibaya, the convener of the planned protests, was questioned by police and detained in a cell overnight, lawyer Obey Shava said. Chibaya is expected to appear in court on Friday.
“The police are saying he failed to take proper steps to stop a demonstration. They have refused to let him go so he has been locked up,” Shava said.
Separately, Chibaya is facing trial on subversion charges linked to violent protests in January that prompted an army crackdown that led to the deaths of 18 people.
Police spokesman Paul Nyathi could not immediately comment on Chibaya’s detention.
Other protests that were planned by the MDC in other cities this week were also halted by the police and courts. The party said hopes were fading that the government might become more tolerant of dissent than the one it had replaced.
The opposition said four more officials were abducted in the second city of Bulawayo from their homes by unknown armed men, following similar incidences in the capital reported by rights groups last week.
The government said in a statement that police were investigating a report of female comedian, Gonyeti, who was kidnapped and assaulted by unknown armed men on Wednesday night. The comedian has been critical of the government and police in her skits.
In Marondera, Matewu said he was sleeping with his family when they heard loud gunshots and shortly afterwards water pouring from a water tank.
“The gunshots continued for about 20 seconds with the magnitude suggesting that it was an automatic assault weapon used. We then heard a car speeding off,” he said.
He said they had recovered over 30 bullet casings, and at least 10 shots had hit the water tank.
Bullet holes were also visible at his gate, on his vehicle and the walls of his home.
“We think that by first attacking the water tank they wanted us to come outside the house so they could shoot us directly,” Matewu said.
Source: Zim Live