POLICE yesterday dispersed dozens of elderly people from a Christmas party hosted by MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa in Highfield, Harare, and reportedly took away groceries meant for beneficiaries.
Chamisa was supposed to host an early Christmas party for the elderly and people living with disabilities before a truckload of armed police officers arrived and called off the gathering.
Senior party officials described the behaviour by the police as unfortunate and accused them of acting like Zanu PF commissars.
MDC Alliance provincial chairperson Wellington Chikombo confirmed the incident, and condemned the behaviour of the police which he said was worrying.
“The president (Chamisa) was having a party as he always does with the elderly this time of the year, donating goodies and the police came and asked us to leave,” Chikombo said in an interview.
“They chased away people, including the elderly and the disabled from the event and we are worried that our police continue to act like an extension of Zanu PF political commissars.”
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said he was not aware of the incident.
The MDC Alliance has complained of harassment, arbitrary arrests and ill-treatment at the hands of the police, whom it says are no longer in good books with the people.
Chikombo accused the police of acting in a partisan manner to frustrate the opposition.
MDC Alliance deputy spokesperson Gift Siziba accused the police of treating the opposition party as a banned organisation.
“As per tradition, we give back to the community and we notified the police as per the law and protocols, but we were banned. To them, the MDC Alliance is a banned organisation in this country and cannot exercise its freedom to gather, freedom to assemble as per our Constitution and we condemn this unequivocally and we have taken action to address that,” he said.
“It is a month of giving and we need to be in solidarity with our people.”
While the police have been stopping the MDC Alliance leader from addressing gatherings, Zanu PF leader President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been all over the country addressing huge gatherings which critics say are COVID-19 super spreaders.