The opposition Movement for Democratic Change leader Nelson Chamisa says he was nearly gunned down by the police in Marondera on Sunday while he was planting trees at Dombodombo Clinic, and he and other party leaders had to take cover behind their vehicles.
“Gunshots and canisters… So shocked by the behavior of the police, armed with guns and weapons, as they besieged the venue and started taking aim at us as we were planting trees at Dombotombo clinic in Marondera today.
“(We) Had to take cover. I can’t get this excessive use of violence,” said Chamisa.
His spokesperson Nkululeko Sibanda says Chamisa was not injured but some party supporters suffered injuries when the police opened fire with live and rubber bullets when they attempted to disperse them.
Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi dismissed these allegations as false saying the police used teargas to disperse the MDC activists, who were holding an illegal gathering.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police dismisses allegations that live rounds or rubber bullets were used or fired when Police Officers in Marondera dispersed MDC supporters and activists this afternoon who had illegally gathered at Dombotombo Clinic and some leaders attempted to address the gathering without following the laid down notification procedures in terms of the law.
“Police only used tear smoke to disperse the gathering and politicians with some who had been transported in combis openly refusing to comply with orders which had been given by the police.
“The facts on the ground are very clear on what happened. We urge members of the public and activists to comply with orders given by law enforcement agencies in their various activities in order to ensure that law and order is properly maintained by police without any hassles,” a police statement says in part.
The information ministry also insisted that at no point were bullets, whether live or rubber, fired at the crowd. Police only shelled tear canisters to disperse the crowd which was insisting on holding an unsanctioned gathering, government said.
“Police in Marondera had to deploy tearsmoke to disperse an agressive crowd that was closing in on them. This was after leadership of a political party tried to hold a rally at Dombotombo Clinic without notifying police.
“For the avoidance of doubt, no firearm was discharged,” said Government in a tweet.