Wednesday, April 30, 2008
"Don't vote for Tsvangirai" - Police chief warns officers
MUTARE – Voting for Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition MDC in a presidential run –off election expected in three weeks’ time is tantamount to plunging the country into a civil war, a high ranking police officer has warned.
The warning was issued by Senior Assistant Commissioner Musarashana Godwin Mabunda during a meeting with police officers here on Tuesday.
Mabunda is a top lieutenant and confidante to Augustine Chihuri, the police chief.
He is on a countrywide tour – meeting officers of all ranks and warning them of the dangers of voting for Tsvangirai in a run off election which is expected to be held any time from May 24 this year.
Mabunda vowed during a meeting with the police officers drawn from all the province’s eight districts that President Mugabe will never be ousted by Tsvangirai. Should that happen, Mabunda reportedly said a civil war will immediately break out.
The meeting was held at the police Main Camp on the edge of the city’s central business district.
Officers who attended the meeting said the environment a tense. “We were told in no uncertain terms that voting for Tsvangirai is just like voting for war,” said one officer, a constable based at Mutare Central police station.
Most junior and middle ranking police officers are believed to have voted for the MDC during the March 29 poll. The ruling party got fewer votes than the opposition at polling stations which also included police residences.
“Mabunda told us that anyone who will dare continue supporting or sympathizing with the MDC will be in serious problems,’ said another officer.
The warning by a top police officer coincides with reports of escalating violence targeted at MDC supporters in both the urban and rural areas.
The violence is widely blamed on state security agents, war veterans and Zanu F militants.
Thousands of opposition supporters have been displaced while about 200 have been badly assaulted.
On Saturday the MDC provincial youth leader, Knowledge Nyamhoka, was abducted by security agents at midnight from his Sakubva home and taken to a secluded area where he was badly beaten and left for dead.
He was rescued by passersby who found him lying unconscious and taken to a private hospital, the Seventh Avenue Surgical Unit, where he is recuperating.
Two other youth activists from Nyanga were also rushed to the same hospital after meeting the same fate as their leader.
The MDC chairman in Manicaland, Patrick Chitaka, said what the situation was degenerating very fast and urgent measures should be put in place to avert“genocide” from occurring in Zimbabwe. ends