Tsvangirai to make emotional return to Zimbabwe Grounds

Harare – PM Morgan Tsvangirai will make an emotional return to Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfields on Sunday, November 29, almost two years after he was brutally assaulted at the same venue on March 11 2007.

The MDC has announced that it will hold its 10th anniversary celebratory rally at Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfields on November 29 to celebrate a "decade of courage, conviction and leadership”.

On 11 March 2007, Tsvangirai was brutally assaulted following an aborted prayer meeting at Zimbabwe Grounds. The images of his brutal went global and received wide condemnation. Several MDC officials officials were arrested. On March 16, Tsvangirai published an account of his arrest and brutal assault.

“I never realised Mugabe and his criminal team would go this far. But I do not seek to be a martyr. Please help us to achieve change," he says. "Seeing a police station, which must be a sanctuary for the protection of the rights of citizens, being converted into a hell-hole was heart-wrenching.

"Seeing police officers trash their constitutional duties in favour of brutalising innocent civilians trying to exercise their basic freedoms was equally devastating. Yes, they brutalised my flesh. But they will never break my spirit. I will soldier on until Zimbabwe is free.”

“I had driven into Highfield suburb in the capital, Harare, on Sunday for a prayer meeting organised by local churches. Although Robert Mugabe had banned all opposition political party meetings and rallies, I had never anticipated that he could go as far as ruthlessly crushing a peaceful prayer meeting.

“When I arrived in Highfield, en route to the venue called the Zimbabwe Grounds, I learnt that it had been completely sealed off to the public.

Riot police were visible everywhere and blocking people from accessing the venue. Ironically it is in the Zimbabwe Grounds that Mugabe stood in 1980 to promise us unfettered freedoms before he assumed power, “ Tsvangirai says.

“I left the venue and withdrew to my home in Strathaven, at least 20km from Highfield. Before I could settle there, I was informed that all the senior officials of my party and other civic leaders who had wanted to continue with the prayer meeting had been arrested and were now jailed at Machipisa Police Station in Highfield.

I immediately drove back and, upon my arrival at Machipisa Police Station, all hell broke loose. I was pulled out of my car by heavily built men in police gear and they began smashing my head against the wall while pushing me inside the station.

"My driver and other aides were treated in the same way. In fact, driver Simbarashe Mujeyi was forced to leave the car- engine running and thrown into the area where my comrades and I were being savagely beaten”.