Chitungwiza Under Siege As Police, Residents Engage In Running Battles

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By Leopold Munhende

SHOPS in St Mary’s, Chitungwiza were forced to close Saturday as anti-riot police and residents fought running battles after the police raided MDC Zengeza West MP, Job Sikhala’s home.

Police also fired tear-smoke to disperse the hoards of residents mainly youths who had held an all-night vigil at Sikhala’s residence in St Mary’s.

The vigil was in support of Sikhala who as the MDC Vice Chairperson, had received threats from a Zanu-PF linked pressure group, Citizens Concerned, that they would camp at his house this weekend and demand to be fed by the politician.

Scores of MDC youths, including youth spokesperson Stephen Chuma have been arrested and are currently detained at St Mary’s Police Station.

A ZUPCO bus on its way to Harare from Chitungwiza was stoned and passengers were ordered to disembark.

Sikhala’s residence has since been cordoned off by the police.

“Police raided Wiwa’s (Sikhala) home early in the morning and arrested youths who had gathered to safeguard the property as Zanu PF youths wanted to attack the property,” MDC deputy youth spokesperson Womberaiishe Nhende said.

Sikhala also told that residents had reacted angrily, but in solidarity with him after the police raid on his home.

“Everything has been closed down in St Mary’s. The youths are in running battles with the police. They are saying you have tormented this man (Sikhala) for a long time,” he said.

“Early in the morning, I was invited by the police at St Mary’s (police station) saying they wanted to find out something from me. I went there and waited for two hours but no senior officer showed up and I had to leave since there was no one to attend to me.”

Contacted for comment National Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said he was not aware of the skirmishes in Chitungwiza.

“I am not aware. I am driving,” he said before hanging up his phone.

The Zanu PF-linked pressure group, Concerned Citizens, had threatened to occupy this weekend, the residences of MDC President Nelson Chamisa in Gutu, Masvingo, Vice President Tendai Biti in Harare and Sikhala’s home.

The ruling party youths are accusing the three top politicians of being behind the economic meltdown in the country after they allegedly invited western imposed sanctions on the country.