MDC top officials, among them secretary for elections Jacob Mafume and youth leader Obey Sithole, were reportedly attacked by unknown assailants suspected to be State operatives on Wednesday evening in Harare.
The pair was at a Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC)-sponsored programme when they were waylaid by suspected State security operatives.
In an interview yesterday, Mafume said the attack showed that the Zanu PF government was incapable of reforming.
“It’s an anniversary of August 1 (2018 post-election shootings) and it shows the government hasn’t changed its ways,” he said.
“When we were giving a presentation which was being sponsored by ZCC, we gave the presentation in the usual hard-hitting manner and from the MDC, there was Obey Sithole as well. We then concluded and as we were leaving, as we were getting to the car park, somebody just popped up and grabbed Obey Sithole by the neck.
“They tried to push him into a car, but as they tried to do that, they were blocked by members of our entourage, who then started fighting back. Finally, people managed to push back the abductors and we ran back inside the venue and there was a standoff as these people closed the gate and drew out their guns. Finally, we called the police and they took details.”
ZCC condemned the attack
“As the church that had created such a sacred and safe space for respectful engagement, we feel such acts of violence violate all forms of decency and should be condemned in the strongest of terms,” ZCC said in a statement.
“We urge the law enforcement agents to carry out the necessary investigations to ascertain what transpired and bring the culprits to book.
“We are sowing seeds of tolerance, unity in diversity and nationhood by convening such dialogue processes. We must all embrace this opportunity to come together in order to rescue the situation through meaningful engagement, while it is available.”
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed a report had been made to the police and investigations were underway.
“We are conducting investigations, but there are different versions to the story. What the owner said and what we are reading on the social media is totally different,” Nyathi said.
“Of course, witnesses have been calling, but we are appealing to whoever with factual information to come forward. We are appealing to individuals to file proper information so that we can investigate with factual information because at the moment we have what they are saying which is different from what is happening on the ground.”