HARARE – The government has denied that the Central Intelligence Organisation or Military Intelligence had been involved in an incident on Saturday in which the MDC says an attempt was made to abduct its leader Nelson Chamisa and his driver.
Instead, the government accused the MDC leader and his security detail of “aggressively confronting and manhandling” a private motorist and his passengers after they drove behind Chamisa’s convoy.
Chamisa, according to a statement by Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa on Sunday, had “lobbed himself at the backseat of their vehicle punching and scratching”.
“The victims, who are just ordinary citizens going about their own business until the attack have reported this matter to the police who are carrying out further investigations. This would appear to be a road rage incident,” Mutsvangwa said.
The MDC has called a news conference for Monday at 11.30AM “in light of the attack on president Chamisa on Saturday,” the party said in a notice on Sunday.
Mutsvangwa said “for the avoidance of any doubt the CIO was not involved in the reported incident which is now under police investigation.”
Chamisa was driving in a three-vehicle convoy on Saturday returning from a rally in Marondera when the party says they observed six vehicles tailing them.
Somewhere close to Ruwa, according to the party, one of the vehicles had overtaken Chamisa’s convoy before blocking the road.
Jacob Mafume, the party spokesman, said an attempt had been made to “retrieve” the MDC leader from his vehicle by armed men who got out of a Toyota Harrier, which had been repelled his security.
The men, whom he was sure were Central Intelligence Organisation agents, had then pulled Chamisa’s driver and thrown him in the backseat of their vehicle.
A few hours after @nelsonchamisa rally speech, the said “attack” happened. Chamisa had said CIOs are following him around everywhere even to the toilet door @ZimMediaReview @matigary pic.twitter.com/BAtGYf73Pp
— Political House Archive (@finley_198) November 11, 2018
In what Mafume described as an “ill-advised, spur-of-the-moment reaction”, Chamisa had left his vehicle and proceeded to the Toyota where a video of the incident shows him diving into the back seat, apparently to pull out his driver. Chamisa was quickly grabbed by his security.
“The driver of the Toyota left at high speed, still with president Chamisa’s driver in the car. After about 50 or so meters, the driver managed to force open the door and jump out,” Mafume narrated.
Chamisa’s aides reported the incident at Mabvuku Police Station.
Popular … Nelson Chamisa addressed thousands of people in Marondera on Saturday
At the Marondera rally, Chamisa had told crowds that CIO and Military Intelligence agents were following him “everywhere, including to the toilet”. They even followed him to prayers in the hills, he said.
“They tail our convoy wherever we go. They are giving me a motorcade I never asked for. I don’t want it,” he said.