Riot police arrived in Masvingo Sentral on Friday and sent people who had gathered for an Independence Day football tournament organized by opposition politician Musa Mafairi running in all directions for fear of arrest.

Three restaurant operators who were hired to supply food to hundreds who gathered for the tournament have been arrested for allegedly operating without licenses from the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare.

Before the tournament, Mafaire donated a meal for 80 elderly villagers and vegetable seeds to members of Zvinojona Garden.

Chief Superintendent Simangaliso Dube who headed the operation said no games should be held when the President was giving a speech in Murambinda because everyone should listen to the Head of State. He said everyone should listen to the president.

The tournament dubbed the Nelson Chamisa Independent Football Championship to celebrate the province’s 44th independence was organized in Masvingo Sentral where Mafare is contesting for the parliamentary seat on a CCC ticket.

Ten opposition legislators and 2023 general election candidates, including Bashor Sibanda, Prince Dubiko, Morgan Ncube, Willard Madzimbamoto and Darlington Chigundu, attended the tournament.

Riot Police, CIO and Zanu PF branded vehicles remained camped at the Mashate Business Center to ensure that the games did not continue.

Today’s tournament cannot be held, especially before the president addresses the nation. Everyone should listen to the President’s speech. “We have no knowledge of your heroism,” Dube told a delegation sent to negotiate with him.

Masvingo police spokesman Inspector Kudakwashe Diwa could not be reached for comment.

Mafair said that the police actions were unjustified, and that he would communicate with the regional command regarding the matter.

“What the police did yesterday is barbaric and unconstitutional. We all have the right to celebrate independence in the way we see fit, provided we do not break the law,” he said.

Mafair told those present that the tournament would be held at another time. Masvingo mirror

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