Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)’s Chitungwiza Mayor Lovemore Maiko was yesterday arrested on allegations of torching a Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) vehicle during demonstrations that occurred in Harare in 2016.
Councillor for Ward 21 in Chitungwiza Kudakwashe John was also arrested in connection with the August 2016 scenes allegedly captured on video. The state alleges that is has video footage showing a man, believed to be Maiko, committing the offence outside Town House in Harare.
The video was taken during a demonstration organised by the Tajamuka pressure group on August 16, 2016. Several vehicles and property were torched in the demonstration. National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi yesterday confirmed the pair’s arrest.
“We can confirm that Chitungwiza Mayor Lovemore Maiko and Kudakwashe John have been arrested in connection with the video footage. They are currently in police custody.
“They are expected to appear in court tomorrow (today),” he said.
Innocent Gonese (MP), MDC Secretary for Justice and Legal Affairs said the opposition party is “appalled and disgusted by the baseless arrest” of Maiko and Councillor Kudakwashe John.
“This is symptomatic of a clueless regime whose answer to its failures is to persecute members of the MDC and ordinary citizens on unfounded and baseless allegations which in the fullness of time will not stand test and like other spurious charges levelled against MDC leaders will fall by the wayside.
“What makes this arrest ludicrous and nonsensical is that it is alleged to have taken place more than three years ago and the Mayor and Councillor have always been around and the police did not see it fit to question them about the incident only do so after the Mayor and Council
suspended the Town Clerk George Makunde, a known Zanu PF functionary.
“One does not need a degree in nuclear physics to figure out that the two events are connected.
“It is unfortunate that professionalism has been thrown out of the window by our compromised and partisan police who have allowed themselves to be instruments of repression by acting at the behest of a regime hell bent at maintaining its grip on power by foul means.
“The wanton arrests of people who have not committed any crime are increasing by the day and recently we had our Chairperson Honourable Tabitha Khumalo et al arrested in Bulawayo and our Provincial Administrator Chigaba arrested in Masvingo on unconstitutional charges of
“We call upon the regime to stop persecuting innocent people and instead address the real issue which is the political question and engage us in genuine and sincere dialogue to restore legitimacy. It is only then that we can extricate our country from the crisis into which we have been plunged.
“This relentless harassment and persecution will not lead us anywhere. It is regrettable that the Regime has chosen to embark on the same disastrous path like Robert Mugabe and try to hoodwink the world that it’s a new dispensation. This deception will not work,” Gonese said.