POLICE have blocked officials from the MDC camp led by Nelson Chamisa from accessing the party’s headquarters in Harare CBD, with Chamisa’s deputy Tendai Biti blocked from entry while youths aligned to reinstated party boss Thokozani Khupe also attempted to take over the building.
Biti was barred from using the party headquarters on Tuesday for his post-Supreme Court judgment Press conference, and instead held it at his Milton Park offices.
Despite the 21-day national lockdown against coronavirus which is now on day 6, there has been a hive of activity around the multi-storey building located at 44 Nelson Mandela Avenue in central Harare, as party officials from both camps attempted to wriggle their way through police barricades.
The fights for control of the building took a nasty turn this Tuesday when the Supreme Court ruled that Khupe was the interim party president as per the MDC constitution, while the party is to hold an extraordinary congress in the next 90 days.
“Police officers are maintaining law and order in terms of the constitutional mandate that they have in terms of ensuring peace and security, particularly now that the nation is implementing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” police national spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said.
Deposed MDC secretary-general Chalton Hwende is quoted by NewsDay saying the party was aware of the police presence adding that a group of youths, allegedly linked to Khupe, came to the Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House on Wednesday trying to get access into the building claiming they were now in charge.
“I don’t know why the police are there, but I have heard there were some known youths aligned to Khupe who went there and tried to get access,” he said.
Warship Dumba, a key member of the Khupe camp who was also a personal security aide to Morgan Tsvangirai, said yesterday that he had accessed the office building.
Newly reinstated party national chairperson Morgen Komichi told Zimbolivenews on Thursday that indeed, party officials had blocked Biti from accessing the building, with the help of police.
Komichi said Chamisa was however free to use the building, but only as the party’s secretary for policy and research as ruled by the Supreme Court, in accordance with the 2014 MDC structures.
When the MDC held its congress in October 2014, Biti had broken ranks with then leader Morgen Tsvangirai and was fronting his own political outfit which he later dumped and rejoined Chamisa in 2018