'Police, soldiers & MDC-T youths gained entry into Harvest House forcefully': Army boss Sibanda SUED

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WORKERS employed by Nelson Chamisa’s MDC Alliance have taken Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander Philip Valerio Sibanda and Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga to court over their subordinates’ involvement in the “violent” seizure of the party’s headquarters by a rival faction led by Thokozani Khupe.

In an application for spoliation, five MDC Alliance employees — Washington Gaga, Chancellor Kudakwashe Matibiri, Edith Sana Munyaka and David Zvavamwe Shambare — alleged that soldiers and police assisted Friday Muleya, Paul Gorekore and Tendai Muchekahanzu to forcibly and violently take over the Morgan Richard Tsvangirai (MRT) House on Thursday night, while one of them was severely assaulted and injured during the fracas.

“This application is for a spoliation order, being an interdict against the respondents and anyone working under their instruction from forcibly and unlawfully deposing applicants of their peaceful and undisturbed use and employment of MRT House, 44 Nelson Mandela Avenue,” the application read.

Army boss, Sibanda, cited as second respondent, stands accused of having deployed armed soldiers who assisted and aided Muchekahanzu, Muleya and Gorekore. MDC Alliance chief security officer Gaga, in a sworn affidavit, said police and soldiers together with the MDC-T youths forcefully gained entry into MRT House.

“On June 4 at about 8:30pm, I was advised in my capacity as chief security officer, about the violent and unlawful takeover occupation of the MRT House. The report that I received, whose details I have confirmed to be true, was to the effect that those acting on behalf of Matanga and Sibanda, together with the other 18 working in cahoots in the acts of violence, forcefully and violently gained entry into the building and they have refused to vacate therefrom,” Gaga swore.

Gaga said those who took over MRT House did so in the belief that a Supreme Court ruling gave them such powers, although in his contention, he says it does not.

“The illegitimate occupation was ostensibly based on the invaders’ belief that they had been authorised at the Supreme Court to occupy the building, but to this day, I have not seen the court order authorising them to deny me and my co-applicants, as well as all other regular inhabitants from continued use of the premises,” Gaga wrote.

In his application, Gaga said this amounted to self-help led by the police and army and that their actions were and remain unlawful. He is seeking an order from the courts to ensure that he is allowed continued use of the building where he is employed.

He said that since the police and soldiers were part of the violent and illegal takeover of the building, he had no other remedy except approaching the courts.

“No other effective remedy. Applicants have to effect restoration of the status quo ante obtaining prior to June 2020 in order to protect their interests. Efforts to solicit assistance from law enforcement agencies have proved futile,” Gaga submitted.

— NewsDay


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