TENSIONS are high in Harare ahead of MDC President Nelson Chamisa launch of the party’s State of the Nation Agenda (SONA) 2020 road-map in the highly volatile suburb of Mbare.
Last week, police barred Chamisa from holding the launch at Mai Musodzi Hall also in Mbare claiming they were busy with the opening of schools for 2020.
Schools opened last week Tuesday.
The party then rescheduled the meeting to Tuesday this week at Stodart Hall in the same suburb.
However, the build-up to this week’s launch has seen tensions in both the police and MDC camps, rising.
In an angry response to the banning of his address last week, Chamisa furiously twitted he would in future, defy attempts by the police to bar him from holding public gatherings.
“ENOUGH is ENOUGH. We have exhausted all channels. We cannot continue to be victims of the law. Rights are for all. On Tuesday (21 January, 2020) we will deliver the people’s Agenda 2020 to the nation come what may #peoplesgovernment,” he said.
Last Friday, heavily armed police details besieged MDC headquarters, Harvest House now known as Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House armed with a search warrant to look for machetes and other subversive material.
The police said they had evidence the main opposition party was stockpiling the weapons in preparation of committing acts of public violence.
In a bid to pre-empt the police’s search, MDC Deputy National Spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka said the police exercise was meant to portray the MDC as a rogue party and arrest its leaders.
“The police have been illegally cracking down on the party’s legitimate programmes, proscribing innocent party activities, arresting the party leadership and stopping Zimbabweans from peacefully expressing themselves in line with the country’s Constitution,” Tamborinyoka said.
“We understand the police are seeking a search warrant in order to use their presence to plant machetes and portray the MDC as a criminal organisation. The desperate attempts will not wash,” he said.
After a two hour search, the police left, saying an official communique would be issued from the Police General Headquarters (PGHQ).
The police are yet to issue the communique.
After the search, Tamborinyoka hit back at the police and the ruling party saying it was in fact Zanu PF who were authors of violence.
“The MDC is a modern party. We cannot resort to fighting an entrenched regime using stones, using machetes, using blades, using catapults.
“We are far much better than that. This is not the first time that police have pounced on Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House in order to criminalise this party as a rogue and criminal organisation,” he said.
“Zimbabweans know who the real authors of violence in Zimbabwe are. Zimbabweans know that it is none other Zanu PF that is behind Mashurugwi.”
Tuesday’s launch in which thousands of MDC supporters are expected to attend also comes a year after Zimbabweans staged massive demonstrations in major cities and towns against rising fuel prices announced then by Mnangagwa.
The government responded by ordering soldiers into the streets to quell the disturbances, which resulted in the death at least 17 people, hundreds injured and others jailed.
According to Tamborinyoka, SONA is an MDC plan of action for 2020.
“From here, the tempo of our democratic struggle rises. President Chamisa will be laying bare to the people of Zimbabwe our cogent plan of action, our cogent plan in order of prosecution of the democratic struggle and programme of action of how we are going to reclaim the people’s struggle,” he said.