MDC councillors 'arrested'

Harare – Zimbabwe's opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change on Tuesday accused the authorities of a instigating a crackdown on its members by arresting three of its councillors ahead of the ruling party's annual conference this week.

"Eleven of the 12 councillors of the Bindura Municipality have fled their homes after the police arrested Ward 10 councillor, Norbert Dhokotera and two other Movement for Democratic Change activists in pre-dawn raids last night," read an MDC statement.

"The three were arrested on trumped up yet to be disclosed charges and are detained at Bindura Central Police Station."

The Movement for Democratic Change said President Robert Mugabe‘s Zanu-PF party was "intensifying its terror campaign" ahead of its annual conference, which starts in Bindura in north-western Zimbabwe on Friday.

Top officials from the ruling party met on Tuesday to discuss the agenda of the conference.

"The meeting focused on items on the official programme including restructuring of the party, the cholera outbreak, state of the economy, the all-inclusive government and the security threat to the country," reported state radio.

The party conference comes nine months after the March general elections in which Zanu-PF lost its majority in parliament for the first time since independence 28 years ago.

Top Mugabe aides would meet as international pressure on the veteran leader to step down mounts amid an economic crisis, cholera outbreak and political stalemate over the formation of a unity government.

The opposition party said Mugabe’s regime was trying to blame it for a failed assassination attempt on the country’s air force chief Perrance Shiri and that it was plotting with neighbouring Botswana to overthrow the government.

Police could not be reached to confirm the arrests. – AFP