'Arresting Chamisa would be the biggest mistake,' MDC warns Mnangagwa's govt

Zimbabwean opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) youth leader has reportedly warned that the southern African country would be turned into a war zone if party president Nelson Chamisa is arrested.

Happymore Chidziva said this after acting officer commanding (crime) Harare, Detective Chief Inspector Edmore Runganga told the commission of inquiry into the August 1 shootings last week that they were now close to arresting Chamisa for inciting violence that led to the deadly military crackdown, which left six people dead.

On August 1, armed soldiers were deployed in the capital, Harare, to suppress a protest against delays in announcing results of the country's first elections without former ruler Robert Mugabe.

Gunfire erupted and six people died, Associated Press reported. 

President Emmerson Mnangagwa then set up a commission of inquiry, headed by former South African president Kgalema Motlanthe, to probe the killings.

'Biggest mistake'

"We have not made any arrests of people who were inciting violence prior to the elections because we are investigating to try and have concrete evidence on how they incited the violence. Once the investigations are complete, they will definitely be charged for inciting violence, as defined by section 187, as read with section 36 and 37 of the Code," Runganga was quoted as saying.

Runganga placed huge portion of blame on the MDC aligned supporters, as he claimed that they were in possession of small firearms.

But, according to NewsDay, Chidziva, said that President Emmerson Mnangagwa's government would be making the "biggest mistake" if it arrested Chamisa.

Chidziva said that the party was ready to "protect" its leader at all cost.

"President Mnangagwa stole the election from Chamisa. After that, his State security agents lately have been trailing him with an aim to abduct.

"Then after that they say they now want to arrest him. No, that will not be allowed to happen. If they arrest Chamisa, he will not walk three steps handcuffed before the country is plunged into unrest," Chidziva was quoted as saying.

He also said that the party had mobilised across the country for its planned protest against Mnangagwa's "illegitimacy and mismanagement of the economy".

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