The charge is high treason!
The machiavellian plan that lies behind today's raids
Harare, Zimbabwe, April 25, 16.30
Sources high in the Zanu-PF police and security forces confirmed for me today that behind today's widely-reported raids on the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and other offices lies a plot to arraign leading opposition figures on trumped-up charges of high treason.
Targeted for arrest and subsequent accusation are the MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti, the party spokesman Nelson Chamisa, and the executive director of the independent Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) Rindai Chipfunde-Vava.
My sources tell me that the effect will be to ensure that, even if the courts eventually throw out the charges, the MDC and the ZESN will be effectively paralysed. And with MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai in Botswana and fearing for his life, Zanu-PF will be free to continue their campaign of intimidation and terror.
Fortunately all three of the targeted indivuduals - Chamisa, Biti and Chipfunde-Vava - were tipped off about the raids and have gone into hiding. The arrests that were made mainly involved victims of militia violence, who were at the MDC offices to seek sanctuary.
The charge against Biti and Chamisa will be that they committed treason by "falsely informing the nation, with intent to cause distress and promote public uprising and violence, by declaring the MDC presidential candidate winner of the election."
The charge against Chipfunde-Vava will be that she committed treason by "publishing corroborating evidence to MDC claims that their candidate had emerged as clear winner."
The hunt for the three is on-going. Arrests of other party activists can be expected, on similar charges. And, I'm told, huge arms dumps will shortly be "discovered", and their existence blamed on the MDC.
This last plot will send a shiver down some backs. It was the same technique used by Mugabe against his rival Joshua Nkomo in the early 1980s. It led to a state of emergency being declared, and subsequently the slaying of tens of thousands of innocent Ndebeles.