Blessings Mashaya 29 July 2017
HARARE – The MDC headquarters was left empty yesterday after the Deputy
Sheriff pounced on the opposition party’s offices and seized property in
order to settle a $108 000 debt owed to one of the party’s former
The Deputy Sheriff arrived at the MDC offices, along Nelson Mandela
Avenue, in Harare, at around 9am.
They disrupted a meeting that was being presided over by party leader
Morgan Tsvangirai who, to his credit, ordered his lieutenants to allow the
surrogate to do his job, peacefully.
MDC supporters and officials heeded Tsvangirai’s directive hence the
exercise was done without incident.
The former prime minister is said to have left his offices soon after
giving the directive.
Party spokesperson Obert Gutu said MDC lawyers were proceeding to lodge an
urgent chamber application for stay of execution.
“It’s just a small labour issue involving one of the party’s former
employees by the name Sally Dura,” said Gutu.
“The matter is now being handled by our lawyers who are proceeding to
lodge an urgent chamber application for stay of execution pending the
hearing of our appeal in the Supreme Court . . . You can be assured that
our party assets would be returned to us very, very soon,” he added.
Dura, along with 15 other MDC employees, won an arbitration award for $600
000 for unfair dismissal.
Following the award, the MDC is said to have appealed and subsequently
lost the appeal at the Labour Court.
The applicants then applied for the quantification of the award.
Dura is owed up to 27 months salary arrears, damages for 36 months and
MDC Gweru urban Member of Parliament Sessel Zvidzai, who was at the party
headquarters watching helplessly as the attachments were being executed,
alleged that the development was the work of Zanu PF.
“They (Zanu PF) want to harass us ahead of the 2018 elections. We were
having our meeting and they disrupted (it) . . . This is a small issue;
they cannot stop us,” Zvidzai told reporters.
Probably expecting resistance from MDC supporters, heavily-armed riot
police officers with water cannons were deployed to guard more than eight
trucks from the deputy sheriff’s office which were loading furniture.
They blocked Nelson Mandela Avenue for more than four hours while loading
the opposition party’s moveable property.
Police officers who were holding guns could be seen at corner Angwa Street
and Nelson Mandela Avenue, directing vehicles to avoid using the one way
street, named after the former South African president.
Some police officers who were stationed at corner Nelson Mandela and First
Street were also blocking pedestrians from using Nelson Mandela Avenue.
Some of the armed police officers were guarding people who were loading
the property, fearing that the MDC supporters could harass them.
Interestingly, some of the supporters provided the police with
entertainment as they cracked jokes saying “you can’t find a wheelchair in
Even the police officers who were wearing serious faces started to laugh
at the jokes.
Some supporters even bought food, which includes the traditional Mahewu
brew and bananas to give the police officers but they refused.
The labour-backed party has a series of disputes with its former
In 2015, the Deputy Sheriff raided Tsvangirai’s residence in Highlands and
the party headquarters but failed to attach any property. This was after
the MDC reportedly terminated contracts of 13 security aides in August
2010 before the Labour Court reversed the decision and ordered the party
to reinstate them with full benefits.
Judge Justice Priscilla Chigumba ordered the party to pay a five percent
interest on the varying amounts awarded to the employees in addition to
the legal costs.
The Deputy Sheriff left Tsvangirai’s house and the party headquarters
empty-handed after the MDC produced a court order staying the execution.