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  • Strikes and Protests 2007- Save Zimbabwe Campaign

  • It's the MDC: See, hear, say no evil
    Caesar Zvayi , The Herald (Zimbabwe)
    March 15, 2007

    View Save Zimbabwe Campaign index of images and articles

    Some Western nations, and the Office of the United Nations Secretary General were regrettably quick to issue statements condemning the arrest of opposition MDC and NCA leaders and activists on Sunday, and their subsequent assault when caught in the cross-fire, completely ignoring the mayhem they caused in Highfield and surrounding suburbs.

    While all media scholars would concur that news reports are mediated reality, the reports by Western agencies that informed the opinions of those who condemned the arrests were surprisingly deafeningly silent on the mayhem unleashed by the opposition. The opposition activists have openly declared war on the police in line with their so-called "defiance campaign" carried out by armed "democratic resistance committees" tasked to target members of the security forces thwarting the campaigns of violence. The opposition groups have also gone on a crusade of targeting the dwellings of the security forces in the high-density suburbs to cow them, or put pressure on landlords to evict them.

    Innocent citizens who refused to join in were also mugged and robbed while their property was either destroyed or looted. So ruthless and systematic have been the campaigns of violence that no nation worth its salt would sit by and let such incipient terrorism take root. In subsequent paragraphs, we detail the timeline of the violence campaign that began the day MDC faction leaders met U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell at Bronte Hotel in Harare's Avenues area, where the defiance plan was conceived.

    The Mobilisation Phase

    January 9, 2007
    Dell meets high-powered four-member delegations from both MDC camps at Bronte Hotel in the Avenues, where he orders them to re-unite and pledges US$1 million to a unified MDC. Morgan Tsvangirai, spokesman Nelson Chamisa, secretary general Tendai Biti and deputy treasurer Elton Mangoma represented the Tsvangirai group; while the Mutambara camp had Arthur Mutambara, his deputy Gibson Sibanda, secretary general Welshman Ncube and defence secretary Job Sikhala. Dell proposed that they re-unite under the aegis of the Save Zimbabwe Convention to present a united front to confront the Government.

    After that both MDC factions engaged the NCA, ZCTU, Crisis Coalition in Zimbabwe, Women/Men of Zimbabwe Arise, Zinasu and the Christian Alliance. They pledged to drum up support for anti-Government activities and civil disobedience through which they hoped to make Zimbabwe ungovernable to warrant foreign intervention. They believed the economic hardships would get the urbanites to support them, while poor working conditions in the civil service would have the security forces look the other way.

    January 10 to February 17, 2007
    The MDC Tsvangirai faction holds nine rallies in Chisumbanje, Kuwadzana 4, Glen View 1, Magunje, Mabvuku, Mufakose, Epworth, Sakubva, and Kambuzuma where the message was opposition to proposed harmonisation of presidential and parliamentary elections and defiance campaigns against the Government. The faction also organised three abortive demonstrations in Harare and

    The NCA also convened five demonstrations in Harare, Bulawayo and Mutare where its chairman, Lovemore Madhuku, pledged to make Zimbabwe ungovernable.

    The MDC Mutambara faction held one meeting in Gwanda and the two scheduled for Bulawayo failed to take-off, as the police did not sanction them. The faction, however, distributed flyers calling on people to go on a defiance campaign against the Government. The Save Zimbabwe Campaign launched a "Sounds of Freedom" campaign in Bulawayo on January 23 distributing flyers in English, Ndebele and Shona urging people to hoot, clap, whistle, scream and shout for a better Zimbabwe every Wednesday from 1300 hours to 1310 hours, starting January 24 while Zinasu organised an abortive demonstration at Harare Polytechnic on Valentine's Day. Nine students were arrested.

    Violence Timeline

    February 11, 2007
    A group of MDC youths driving a pick-up truck with blacked-out number plates storm a butchery owned by Zanu PF shadow MP for Kambuzuma Dr Samuel Mvurume at Kambuzuma 5 Shopping Centre where they smash glasses of the deep-freezer and steal meat from the refrigerator. They are coming from a Tsvangirai faction rally at Kambuzuma Recreational Park where faction national chairman Isaac Matongo has told them to be courageous as a lot of people would be killed, injured and/or arrested when the MDC launches its violent campaign to topple the Government. He urges them to attend the launch at Zimbabwe Grounds on February 18.

    February 16, 2007
    Two police officers -- Number 02485L Sergeant Mukora and Number 984827N Constable Tichareva, both of Waterfalls Police -- are assaulted after they try to break a group of approximately 120 MDC Tsvangirai supporters gathered at Rezende North Bus terminus in Harare for a demonstration. One Wunganai Tapfumanei of Number 111-36th Street, Budiriro 1, Harare is arrested in connection with the assault.

    The same day, at Ximex Mall, a group of about 200 MDC supporters attack the following two police officers: Number 050100F constable Kanzou of Harare Central Operations; he is assaulted with booted feet and stabbed with a knife on the left buttock; and Number 049556P Constable Chimunzi of Harare Central Operations who is assaulted with booted feet and clenched fists all over the body. He sustains moderate head injuries. The demonstrators steal the officers' police caps and handcuffs. Some of the demonstrators run towards the Police Post corner First Street and George Silundika Avenue, which they stone, breaking two windowpanes.

    Eight activists are arrested, they pay deposit fines of $250 each for contravening Section 41 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 "Disorderly conduct in a public place." Police Harare Central Z69 (j) number 4595569-76A. Wunganai Tapfumanei is still detained at Police Harare Central, Central IR 021547.

    February 17, 2007
    MDC faction leader Arthur Mutambara arrived in Bulawayo to launch the "Defiance Campaign" at Small City Hall. He is informed the rally has been cancelled by the Regulating Authority and the crowd disperses. As they do so, some supporters shout at the police officers leading to the arrest of seven of them for contravening Section 19(1) (b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act. They pay deposit fines of $250 apiece. Police Bulawayo Central Z69 (j) numbers are 4386999A-4551504A.

    February 18, 2007
    Following the cancellation of the rally planned for Zimbabwe Grounds by the regulating authority, MDC youths go around Highfield damaging property and looting from vendors and shops, while a truck with a loud hailer drives around the suburb urging people to attend the unsanctioned rally.

    An hour later about 30 MDC youths in party regalia stone and damage doors at OK Zimbabwe Supermarket at Machipisa Shopping Centre. They steal compact disc holders from the supermarket, and loot clothes from a flea market opposite the supermarket. They also stone a Barclays Bank ATM.

    Around 0950 hours: One Gift Maukazuva (24) -- an MDC member -- of Number 6172 Mangwende Drive East, Highfield, is kidnapped by three youths loyal to Tsvangirai, among them Chris Madzore and one Dickson. They accuse him of being an informer for the Central Intelligence Organisation before locking him in the boot of a Toyota Cressida registration numbers 526-719X owned by the Tsvangirai faction national youth secretary Solomon Madzore. They drive Maukazuva to Dema in Seke where they severely assault him with a brick and an iron rod leaving him for dead. He is later picked, on the brink of death, by passers-by who take him to police in Chitungwiza.

    1000 hours: The following MDC Tsvangirai activists: Benjamin Maimba, Eric Murayi, Toendepi Shonhe, and Costa Machingauta drove around Machipisa Shopping Centre in a Toyota Prado registration number AAU 5067, urging people to attend the rally at Zimbabwe Grounds. They are arrested and charged with contravening Section 36 (1) (a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

    1100 hours: 50 youths stone a Zupco bus, Isuzu registration numbers 830-514F driven by Ishmael Munyaradzi. Five windows on the left side are shattered. No one is injured.

    1230 hours: Tsvangirai, Elias Mudzuri and Nelson Chamisa drive to Police Southerton in a convoy of 11 cars intending to see Chief Superintendent Jangara, the Officer Commanding Police Harare South District in connection with the Prohibition Order.

    They are told he is at Police Machipisa. They then drive towards Machipisa from where they are dispersed by the police.

    A total of 37 people are arrested in connection with the violence.

    Following these disturbances in Highfield, from 2000 hours on February 18 to about 0200 on February 19, MDC Tsvangirai youths stone and burn vehicles at Glen View Area 8 robots.

    A Mazda 323 registration number 595-354X owned by John Chitakatira of Number 2336-35 Crescent, Glen View 1, Harare, is burnt and reduced to a shell. The vehicle is valued at $10 million.

    Twenty-eight other vehicles, including nine commuter omnibuses, among them a Zupco bus, are stoned around the same place.

    February 22, 2007
    From 0945 hours to 1000 hours, Chief Supt Jangara holds a meeting with MDC Tsvangirai faction national organising secretary Elias Mudzuri, whom he gives the Prohibition Order banning rallies for a period of three months. Chief Supt Jangara informs Mudzuri that if his faction desists from violence, the prohibition order could be revoked. Mudzuri says he is taking the Prohibition Order to his superiors and legal advisors but is not in a position to predict their reaction.

    February 24, 2007
    A Zupco bus, Mazda Swaraji registration numbers 829-418Q, is damaged at Kuwadzana 5 Turnoff by approximately 15 MDC Tsvangirai youths singing and chanting slogans. They barricade the road with stones and rubble. Police attend the scene and arrest the following: Alex Maorere NR: 83-097053G-83 of Number 6835 Kuwadzana 5, Harare, and Douglas Mutinwi of Number 6235 Kuwadzana 5, Harare.

    February 28, 2007
    Scores of NCA members hold demonstrations in Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, and Masvingo

    The same day around 0420 hours six suspected MDC Tsvangirai faction activists block the road at the intersection of First Street and Chesvingo Drive, Masvingo, using the wreckage of a car and burning tyres. Constable Chipenge, who lives along the street, hears the noise outside and discovers the burning tyres; he telephones Police Masvingo Central who attend the scene. No is arrested.

    At the same time, some tyres are set ablaze on the Masvingo-Beitbridge Road near Mucheke Bridge. At Pangolin Business Centre, Masvingo, another group cuts down gumtrees with a hacksaw and blocks Jairos Jiri Road. They also block Charumbira Street opposite Mandava Service Station with stones.

    1600 hours: The same day 20 UZ students led by Tineyi Mukweva a former Student Executive Council president, enter UZ campus through an undesignated entry point and proceed to New Complex 5. They are holding some wooden and metal objects singing and toy-toying. Upon arrival at the New Complex 5, they smash glasses of the French door at the entrance destroying nine panes.

    The group moves to the campus supermarket with the intention of looting but when they get there, none of them has the guts to break-in, they run away. The matter is reported to Avondale Police Station. Police Avondale attend the scene, but no arrests are made. Case is still under investigation, OB 1193/07.

    March 1, 2007
    The MDC Tsvangirai faction goes on a campaign to mobilise people to attend a rally at Budiriro 1 Shopping Centre scheduled for March 4 in defiance of the Prohibition Order, the youths are promised $60 000 each for participating in the rally or demonstration.

    March 10, 2007
    At 2200 hours, the following MDC Mutambara faction youths are arrested in Mbare while distributing flyers inviting people to the Save Zimbabwe Campaign rally in Highfield: Lamech Homerai (27), and Tawanda Hudzerema (25). They are detained at Police Stodart for contravening Section 46 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act. Police Stodart RRB 121336 refers.

    March 11, 2007
    At 0930 hours, 14 officials from both MDC factions hold a meeting at Number 83 Central Avenue in Harare to prepare for their intended Save Zimbabwe Campaign rally scheduled for Zimbabwe Grounds. Also in attendance is the chairman of the Combined Harare Residents' Association, Mikes Davies. Police order them to disperse, they comply but before doing so, Mutambara says as opposition political leaders, they do not recognise the police force of an "illegitimate government".

    1145 hours: The following people are arrested at different places in Lusaka, Highfield on their way to Zimbabwe Grounds: Nelson Chamisa, Mike Davies, and Willias Madzimure MDC MP for Kambuzuma.

    1200 hours: Ten Zinasu members are arrested at Market Square, Harare, intending to board commuter omnibuses to Zimbabwe Grounds, Highfield, to attend the Save Zimbabwe Campaign rally.

    1220 hours: The following police officers deployed in Highfield are attacked by a group of MDC activists: Assistant Inspector Mwinde Harare Central, 034294A Sergeant Makurumure Harare Central, and 053737J Constable Ndowa Harare Central. Assistant Insp. Mwinde manages to escape, but Const Ndowa and Sgt Makurumure are assaulted and sustain serious head injuries. They are admitted at Harare Central Hospital, both officers were unarmed.

    1235 hours: About 30 "Save Zimbabwe Campaign" project members are picked up by police at different spots in Lusaka, Highfield, trying to force their way to Zimbabwe Grounds. Among them are the following MDC faction members: Arthur Mutambara (MDC faction president), Job Sikhala (MP St Mary's), Tendai Biti (MP Harare East), Sekai Holland, Clement Chigome, Tendai Musiyazviripo, Tendai Chitseke, Tsvangirai Mukwazhi, Element Chikwira, Emmanuel Mauya, Abiso Dzvairo, Frank Nyagumbo, and Francis Chikunguri.

    1300 hours: Tsvangirai and Madhuku are seen addressing youths who attacked police officers, the youths disperse leaving Tsvangirai and Madhuku who are subsequently arrested. The duo is taken to Machipisa Police Station. They accuse police of being used by Zanu-PF and threaten unspecified action against the officers.

    1420 hours: A European Union vehicle registration number 120 CD 34 is seen driving around Highfield with two occupants who enquire from the public the whereabouts of Tsvangirai.

    1500 hours: At Zindoga Shopping Centre, Waterfalls, a Zupco bus registration number AAS 0949 has its windows shattered by stones thrown by Save Zimbabwe Campaign project activists. The activists also throw a petrol bomb at a ZNA vehicle, Mazda B1800 registration numbers 43 BB 97 that is parked at the shopping centre. The bomb explodes igniting fire, which extensively damages the seats. Major Stanley Dhlamini based at KGVI who is driving the vehicle is alerted and rushes to extinguish the blaze. Two opposition activists Christopher Dziro and Tapera Munemiwa are arrested in connection with the incidents.

    1545 hours: Officer-In-Charge Machipisa Police, and his deputy are driving around Highfield in a station vehicle, a Mazda B1800. They have eight details on board, one of them is armed with an FN rifle. The team meets 200 MDC Save Zimbabwe Campaign project activists who charge towards the vehicle. The armed officer fires 18 warning shots into the air but the youths continue advancing, the officer then hits MDC Tsvangirai Glen View district chairman Gift Tandare in the right armpit and he dies on the spot.

    Tandare had been in remand prison since 2003 in connection with the burning of a Zupco bus in another riotous situation, and had just been recently released from custody.

    A total of 60 Save Zimbabwe Campaign project activists including their leaders are arrested in connection with the skirmishes in Highfield.

    2000 hours: About 50 MDC Tsvangirai faction youths try to raid Kuwadzana Police Station. An officer manning the gate fires warning shots into the air to scare them away. The youths run to Bulawayo Road Roundabout in Kuwadzana where they block the road with big stones forcing vehicles to stop. They then hide in a nearby maize field from where they stone seven vehicles shattering windows.

    Police from Kuwadzana and Dzivaresekwa pursue the youths after receiving reports from complainants of the stoned vehicles. They open fire into the maize fields shooting one youth, Peter Chibanda (30) of Room 22 Block 12C Chishawasha Flats, Mbare, on the right upper arm. He is arrested and detained at Police Dzivarasekwa. DB 309/07.

    March 12, 2007
    0230 hours: A group of about 50 MDC Tsvangirai youths barricade Dzivaresekwa Road with stones near Jacaranda Bus Stop. They stone a St Johns ambulance registration numbers AAP 6340 being driven by one Lione Mwanjira shattering seven windows. No one is arrested.

    March 13, 2007
    Three policewomen are badly burnt in a petrol bomb attack on Marimba Police Camp in Harare at midnight. A police post in Mkoba, Gweru, is also bombed the same night by suspected MDC activists. The raiders cut the wire along the northern boundary of Marimba Police Camp and threw petrol bombs and teargas canisters at three houses, the most serious damage and all the injuries occurring at a house shared by three women constables. Constables Busani Moyo and Pretty Mushonga have their faces seriously burned while Constable Brenda Makamba escaped with less serious burns on the chest, legs and arms. All three are in Parirenyatwa Hospital.

    MDC youths barricade roads in Glen View 3, destroying property and stoning vehicles A commuter omnibus is stoned before being overturned along Glen View Way, just opposite Glen View 3 High School, at around 5am. At Tichagarika Shopping Centre, the rampaging youths uproot and destroy a phone shop cabin, which they later use to barricade Willowvale Road.

    Post script
    Those denouncing the arrest of the perpetrators do not mention the violence by opposition activists.

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