Highfield resembled a ghost town following running battles between unarmed MDC supporters and armed riot police. The police, who had defied a High Court order, cordoned off the venue of the MDC rally and went on the rampage in the High density suburb of Highfield in Harare.
Despite a High Court order preventing the police from interfering with the MDC rally to launch its Presidential campaign at Zimbabwe grounds in Highfield, Harare, armed riot police sealed off the venue and patrolled the streets of Highfield indiscriminately firing live ammunition, teargas and water cannons in the tranquil environment around Machipisa shopping centre.
When the crowd became agitated, the over 50 000-strong crowd that had turned up for the rally were sent scurrying for cover after armed riot police ordered the shopping center closed, searched people’s homes and indiscriminately assaulted any person seen outside their home. The terror campaign spread to all high density suburbs in Harare where running battles are still being fought between the people and the security forces of an unpopular regime.
Three people are feared dead while 127 people have been arrested and that is the price they have paid for turning up for an ordinary party rally. Two of our disabled supporters, Angeline Masaisai and Clara Muzoda were thoroughly assaulted near the venue of the rally after they had painfully traveled all the way from Mabvuku for the star rally. At least 11 Israeli-imported water cannons patrolled the streets of Highfield and 279 were seriously injured in the clashes with the police and are receiving treatment at various hospitals in Harare.
President Tsvangirai, Vice President Thokozani Khupe and members of the Liberation team attempted to force their way into the stadium only to cause more teargas and chaos from the police.
The MDC believes that the nation has every reason to feel unsafe, vulnerable and threatened when the police and the minister of Home Affairs, who are the custodians of the law, fail to protect the citizens. When a police force which says it had no manpower to provide security for the rally suddenly turns up with tankers and over 1 000 armed security forces, it proves beyond doubt that Zimbabwe is run by an unrepentant despot. All avenues for peaceful expression have been closed. The regime is answerable for whatever will happen after they have thwarted and inhibited people from attending a peaceful rally. Beyond any shadow of doubt, Zimbabwe has become a police State governed on the whims of an unmitigated securocracy.
The MDC salutes its supporters, and indeed the people of Zimbabwe, for
turning up in their thousands for the national cause. The party salutes the
courage and resilience of the people in the face of military might. They
stood their ground and demanded to be addressed by their leadership. The regime is afraid of people power. This dictatorship is now standing on very temporary legs and the people shall soon pass their verdict in a resounding way.
Today, we have turned a corner, a new chapter has been opened. Popular
expression shall become the language of all the oppressed majority of Zimbabweans. The MDC makes a clarion call to all Zimbabweans to act
collectively to bring down the walls of tyranny and erecting the pillars of
a new society characterized by freedom, prosperity, justice and democracy.
Saving our country is our generational obligation and mandate. It is the
call of our time.
Nelson Chamisa, MP
Secretary for Information and Publicity