, HARARE, May 9 – Zimbabwean police raided the office of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party Thursday in the southern district of Gwanda and seized motorcycles meant to be used for election campaigns, a party spokesman said.
“Police have confiscated 10 motorbikes following a raid on our Gwanda office,” Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) spokesman Douglas Mwonzora told AFP.
“These are ordinary motorbikes which were regularly procured and we wonder why the police are resorting to this heavy-handedness.”
Mwonzora said the police did not explain the reason for the seizure of the motorcycles, which were meant to be used by party officials to travel long distances during campaigns ahead of elections planned for later this year.
Police were not immediately available for comment.
The seizure came days after police arrested journalists from a popular weekly in the capital Harare.
They were charged with writing false information in a story about meetings between security chiefs loyal to veteran President Robert Mugabe and officials from Tsvangirai’s party.
Early this year police raided the offices of rights groups in Harare and took away radios and various documents, in what analysts said was a ploy to intimidate rights groups ahead of a referendum on a new constitution in March.
Zimbabwe is expected to hold elections this year to vote for a successor to the shaky power-sharing government formed by Mugabe and Tsvangirai four years ago.
Mugabe and his allies want the elections as early as June but Tsvangirai says the elections should be preceded by reforms concerning the media and electoral laws.