Nine MDC Alliance officials arrested during meeting

Zimbabwe's riot police take position in the streets of Harare central district as Zimbabwe’s main opposition parties demonstrate in support of free and fair elections to be monitored by international bodies on March 22, 2017 in Harare, Zimbabwe. A coalition of opposition political parties in Zimbabwe demanded the disbanding of the state-appointed electoral commission accusing the poll body of hindering free and fair elections. / AFP PHOTO / Jekesai NJIKIZANA

POLICE in Masvingo on Tuesday raided MDC Alliance party offices and arrested nine district chairpersons accusing them of violating the country’s Covid-19 induced lockdown restrictions.

The officials spent the better part of the day locked up at Masvingo central police station and were later released at the intervention of Zimbabwe human rights lawyer, Martin Mureri.

“Nine MDC Alliance district chairpersons were arrested at their party offices,” Mureri said Tuesday.

“They spent the day in police custody without any charges being laid against them.

“I was later advised that they had violated lockdown restrictions and were made to pay $600 fine each for their release,” Mureri said.

The nine were scheduled to have a meeting at the offices when they were arrested.

The arrest of the nine comes barely a week after the arrest of MDC Alliance vice presidents Tendai Biti and Lynette Karenyi-Kakore, among seven party officials at the main opposition’s Harvest House headquarters in Harare on similar accusations.

Biti and the MDC lot were trying to access the party headquarters to address a press conference.