MDC-M fingered in the arrest of MDC-T officials

Bulawayo, – An ousted member of parliament, expelled from the smaller faction of the Movement for Democratic Change belonging to Arthur Mutambara has accused his former party for causing the arrest of 17 officials from the larger MDC faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai.

Former Nkayi North Member of Parliament, Abdenico Bhebhe told journalists at a press briefing on Tuesday: “MDC Mutambara is shocked by massive defections to MDC T by its senior members in Matabeleland North province especially in Nkayi and this has seen it coming up with different tricks .We have no doubt there are the ones who are behind the arrest of these 17 MDC T officials.”

The 17 MDC- T officials who include councillors and Matabeleland North provincial chairperson, Sengezo Tshabangu were arrested at Nkayi Centre on Thursday on charges of holding a meeting without police clearance. There were granted US$30 bail each by a Nkayi Magistrate on Monday.

Tshabangu who also attended the press briefing said: “MDC Mutambara has lost support in Nkayi and is trying by all means to fix those who have defected to the mainstream MDC T.”

Tshabangu said he was surprised that police in riot gear were sent to arrest him on Thursday while he was chairing a meeting to welcome nine councillors who had rejoined the MDC T after defecting from Arthur Mutambara’s party at Nkayi Centre.

Tshabangu said the arrests were nothing but intimidation and harassment. However, seven of those officials who were given bail on Monday had to seek urgent medical attention after falling ill while in police custody.

The magistrate postponed the case to 20 January 2011.