MDC MPs arrested in Harare

2009-08-20 15:21

Ten legislators from the mainstream Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were arrested in one fell swoop in Harare yesterday.

The MPs were arrested at the Ministry of Finance offices where they had gone to demand an explanation for an order issued by the ministry’s Permanent Secretary barring a car company from releasing vehicles to them.

Their lawyer Tafadzwa Mugabe confirmed the legislators had been bundled into police vehicles by heavily armed officers and were locked up at Harare Central Police Station.

Tafadzwa said he was surprised by the charge against the MPs and was still trying to secure their release.

“According to the charge sheet, the MPs are being accused of conducting themselves in a manner likely to cause a breach of peace.

“But that does not make sense to me at all. I don’t understand what conduct the honourable MPs could possibly have displayed by simply waiting for a meeting with the secretary of finance,” said Mugabe.

The 10 include Pishai Muchauraya, Prosper Mutseyami, Cephas Makuyana, Margret Matienga, Felix Mafa, Simon Hove, Piniel Denga, Amos Chibaya and Shepherd Madamombe.

Zimbabwe has a parliamentary car scheme which allows MPs to procure vehicles from a local car manufacturer. Parliament pays for the vehicles but the MPs would eventually pay it back at concessionary rates.

Most MPs have already taken delivery of their vehicles but when the 10 went to claim theirs, they found the ministerial order issued by finance secretary Willard Manungo prevented the company from issuing their cars.

A source at the ministry where the drama took place said Manungo did not want to confront the MPs and he simply called the police to remove them from his office.

Scores of MDC MPs have been arrested on what the party claims are trumped-up charges.

They charge that Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party, through the office of controversial Attorney General Johannes Tomana, was steeped in a plot to eliminate the former opposition’s parliamentary majority.

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