THE MDC led by Welshman Ncube has described the arrest of villagers protesting the takeover of Maleme Ranch in Matabeleland South as a chilling reminder of how Zanu PF resorts to violence and harassment when confronted with a problem.
“Sadly this incident is yet another chilling reminder of the Zanu PF government’s usual resort to strong arm tactics to silence and harass masses who dare stand up against its injustices,” the party said in a statement issued by acting secretary-general, Moses Mzila Ndlovu yesterday.
“It would appear as if the Zanu PF regime is prepared to defy the world and use whatever means to try and frustrate legitimate expressions of opposition to its misrule of Zimbabwe.”
MDC said it urged the people of Maleme not to give up in their quest for justice.
“As MDC, we view this as the worst kind of intimidation and it is not dissimilar to President (Robert) Mugabe’s infamous threats to the judiciary last week,” the party said.
“We condemn in strongest terms this violation of basic freedoms of people who are within their rights to demonstrate against unfair treatment.”
In Parliament, Tourism minister Walter Mzembi claimed the media was overstating things and if the farm had been listed for acquisition, there should be no resistance to the takeover.
A day before, Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa said he was not aware of the Maleme issue.
Maleme Ranch, which locals say is at the centre of their livelihoods, was acquired by a State spy, Rodney Mashingaidze, but the community has resisted the takeover.
Twelve villagers were arrested for resisting the takeover of the farm and will appear in court on April 19.
Meanwhile, the MDC has encouraged commuter omnibus operators to continue resisting paying bribes to police officers, following their strike earlier this week.
“We urge the people of Maleme and the commuter omnibus operators to not give up the fight for justice,” Ndlovu said.
“As MDC, we will always stand with the people. All these demonstrations are to us a sign that the people of Zimbabwe have finally chosen to stand up to the evil Zanu PF regime.
“With this in mind, the Zanu PF government is reminded that no army can withstand the strength of the voice and will of the masses.”