Zimbabwe Police Raid Rivals’ House

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Police raided a house near here used by executives of the prime minister’s party, saying they were searching for weapons, the country’s finance minister said on Saturday.

The raid signals the fragility of Zimbabwe’s unity government and undoubtedly will worsen the already bitter relationship between President Robert Mugabe and the prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai.

Mr. Mugabe was forced into a power-sharing government with Mr. Tsvangirai, a longtime opposition leader, after disputed elections. Mr. Tsvangirai withdrew from the coalition government on Oct. 16.

Mr. Mugabe, 85, has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980.

Tendai Biti, secretary general of Mr. Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change, said about 50 armed police “ransacked” the house in a Harare suburb on Friday night.

He said a guard, Moffat Nyandure, and his wife were assaulted. Police told Mr. Nyandure to dig in the yard around the house in search of weapons, Mr. Biti said, adding that Mr. Nyandure was made to dig with his bare hands for five hours.

The house is used by executives from the Movement for Democratic Change.

A police spokesman, Wayne Bvudzijena, had no immediate comment.

Mr. Biti said the raid was “provocation” by Mr. Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party.

“They are behind this attack,” Mr. Biti said. “Our decision of pulling out of the inclusive government infuriated ZANU-PF, and this is the price we now pay for that decision.”

Mr. Biti said the Movement for Democratic Change was adamant about not returning to the coalition government until there was movement from Mr. Mugabe’s party.

However, Mr. Mugabe and ZANU-PF have treated Mr. Tsvangirai’s boycott with contemptuous indifference.

[original]

spotted by RS

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