"Police are planting weapons on our properties" – MDC

"Last night armed police numbering over 50 raided this residence on the pretext that they were looking for arms stolen from the police or the army," Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) secretary general Tendai Biti told journalists.

"They ransacked every room and took a bunch of valuable party material from a room occupied by our organising secretary Morgan Komichi.

"They beat up the wife and sister of the caretaker before they started digging part of the garden ostensibly in search of weapons.

"The decision we took last week and the efforts we are making in government to protect public funds all have to do with these acts of frustration."

Party leaders such as Tsvangirai’s deputy Thokozani Khupe, chairman Lovemore Ncube and youth leader Thamsanqa Ncube used to occupy the house until they were given official state residences, Biti said.

Biti said the raid was the work of members of President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party and security forces opposed to the country’s power-sharing government.

There were fears the police may have "planted" weapons during the raid, Biti said.

The raid came days after the MDC said it was suspending contact with Mugabe’s party in the power-sharing government to protest over delays in resolving outstanding issues stalling the work of the government.

"We regard this as further evidence of lack of a paradigm shift on the part of ZANU-PF to treat us as an equal partner," Biti said.

"We regard it as serious evidence of a few in ZANU-PF and securocrats who want us out of the government.

"On our part, this is nothing new. They will continue to plant arms and attempt to kill us but we will look the dictatorship in the eye."