A number of MDC Alliance politicians in Bulawayo have reportedly gone into hiding after police launched a manhunt for the politicians who are accused of masterminding the three day stay away that brought the country to a standstill last week.
Violent protests broke out on Monday with protesters going on rampage mainly in Bulawayo, Harare and Gweru looting shops and damaging infrastructure in response to fuel price hikes of 150 percent announced by the government.
The country`s security forces responded with brute force with rights groups claiming 12 people were killed during the protests with the government blaming the MDC, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and civil society organisations for leading the protests.
MDC national chairperson Thabitha Khumalo`s residence in the low-density suburb of Saurcestown was Sunday reportedly besieged by armed police who were looking for her in connection with the protests but she had already made good her escape.
According to reports, the police only found Khumalo`s maid who was clueless of her boss` whereabouts.
Khumalo confirmed the incident to CITE saying she was in hiding and safe.
“I have been in hiding before the ZCTU stay away as l got wind of the police looking for me,” said Khumalo.
Khumalo denied allegations that the opposition party had a hand in the demonstrations.
“As the MDC led by President Advocate Nelson Chamisa let be on record that we did not call for the stay away, it was called by the ZCTU and you are aware that the MDC was founded by the ZCTU so it goes without saying for us to participate in solidarity with our mother body,” she said.
Member of Parliament for Mpopoma Charles Moyo also told CITE in a brief interview that he had gone into hiding after he got wind that police were looking for him.
“The police are looking for us, especially the MDC leadership. They do not understand that we are not responsible for the stay away it was a citizen initiative,” said Moyo
“We are also against the looting and vandalism of infrastructure”.
Makokoba MP James Sithole and ward one Councillor Mlandu Ncube are also believed to have gone underground following the violent protests.
Efforts to contact the two were fruitless as their mobile phones were not going through.
Two MDC MPs from the Midlands province, Amos Chibaya, who is the party`s National Organising Secretary and Livingstone Chiminya were arrested as police rounded up protesters in Gweru.
The pair who are being charged with incitement of violence and public violence were denied bail on Friday.
Prominent political activist Pastor Evan Mawarire was also arrested and is being charged with subverting the government.