Police arrest 7 political activists distributing monthly food handouts to poor residents

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Five members of the National Democratic Working Group (NDWG) led by Job Sikhala have been arrested in Harare in what appears to be a national crackdown on the opposition amid claims that they are attempting to cause instability in Zimbabwe.

But the opposition claims that the government is attempting to cover up massive corruption linked to the ruling elite, including President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his inner circle.

In a statement, the NDWG said it is concerned over machinations, alarmism, despondency and overzealousness of police as government becomes “increasingly paranoid following revelations of shocking levels of corruption involving very senior civil servants and elite politicians.

The NDWG said its arrested members were distributing monthly food handouts to less privileged Kuwadzana residents.

The arrested activists who are currently in police custody are Edmore Svinurai, Emily Mwali, Isaya Ndawana, Patience Ndoro and Regina Aniwute.

The NDWG said, “The police are pressing charges of gathering without police clearance. The meeting was never a political gathering but a social justice interaction of persons who have been doing good for poor and the vulnerable at a private residence of one of its members.”

NDWG comprises churches, students, businesses and others.

Police spokesperson Commissioner Paul Nyathi was unreachable for comment on his mobile phone.

Seventy-nine CCC activists arrested two weeks ago for attending an event in which they were commemorating International Day of the African Child are currency in remand prison facing charges of attending an illegal meeting at Jameson Timba’s Harare residence.

Mnangagwa and Information Minister Jenfan Muswere have come up guns blazing threatening to deal ruthlessly with political activists and non-governmental organizations said to be planning to stage anti-corruption protests.

There have been several corruption incidents linked to the ruling party elite of late which have resulted in the locking up of businessmen Moses Mpofu and Mike Chimombe. They are facing charges of defrauding the government of 7.3 million in a poverty-alleviation program under the Presidential Goat Pass-on scheme.

The two who were tasked with purchasing over 600,000 goats for rural household allegedly converted the money to their own use after buying only 4,200 low-grade goats.

They are also linked with a US$40 million Zimbabwe Electoral Commission tender which has sucked in Wicknell Chivayo, a man who has been getting many government tenders and giving Zanu PF-linked individuals top range vehicles.

But Chivayo has distanced themselves from this deal allegedly reached with a South African company for the supply of election materials in last year’s polls.