POLICE yesterday said they would continue seeking the services of the army to maintain order in Harare and other cities following Wednesday’s deadly clashes which claimed six lives.
“The situation is still tense and we still require their (military) assistance,” national police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said last night.
Charamba added that the bloody clashes between MDC Alliance protesters and State security agents left 14 other people injured, 22 shops vandalised and eight vehicles damaged in the skirmishes.
She said police had arrested 26 suspects among them MDC Alliance’s Harare South losing parliamentary candidate, Shadreck Mashayamombe, in connection with the violence which broke out as opposition parties accused the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) of rigging the elections in favour of Zanu PF.
Eighteen of the suspects were picked up from the party’s headquarters following a police raid.
Heavily armed soldiers and police officers maintained a heavy presence in the city centre yesterday, fuelling tension ahead of the announcement of presidential results late last night.
MDC Alliance youth leader Happymore Chidziva claimed police had spared him arrest after it emerged that he was not involved in organising the protests.
“It’s a lie that we are inciting people to be violent. We are doves, we are peace-loving people and violence is foreign to us,” Chidziva said as he paid condolences to the families of the six people shot dead in the skirmishes.
“This is sad. People were waiting for a new Zimbabwe, but because of this recklessness from the army, these people are no more. We also had many people who got injured and this is unfortunate. We condemn this in the strongest terms,” Chidziva said.
Zanu PF legal secretary Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana said they would not rush to apportion blame on any party, but allow the police to independently investigate the matter.