POLITICAL violence last week erupted in urban areas with both Zanu PF and MDC supporters involved in skirmishes in Mbare, Epworth and Chitungwiza.
The post-election violence was until last week mostly confined to the countryside.
Residents in Mbare who spoke to the Zimbabwe Independent said since last week Zanu PF youths have been terrorising people perceived to be MDC supporters.
“People are being interrogated, beaten and tortured for simply being MDC members while men above the age of 18 are being forced to participate in all-night vigils,” one of the residents said.
The residents said the Zanu PF Mbare district office was issuing passes to non-residents who wanted to conduct their business in the high density suburb.
The Independent is in possession of one such pass that has a Zanu PF Mbare district stamp.
A residentâ€™s organisation in the area this week issued a statement condemning the assault of residents by Zanu PF youths.
“The Mbare Residentsâ€™ Trust has no problem with activists mobilising for their partyâ€™s support, but we are concerned when some unruly elements within the political establishment take advantage of peoplesâ€™ freedoms to invade peoplesâ€™ homes, ransack their houses, beat them up and render them powerless,” said the trust.
The Trust said its investigations have established that some losing Zanu PF council candidates in Mbare were involved in the orgy of violence.
Last week, vendors at the Mbare retail market were on Thursday, Friday and Sartuday forced to assemble at Mai Musodzi Hall for “re-orientation” meetings at which they were told to vote for President Robert Mugabe.
In Epworth, a semi-urban area on the outskirts of Harare, Zanu PF supporters on Sunday night allegedly burnt six houses belonging to MDC supporters.
“The skirmishes occurred between 9pm and 11pm when Zanu ZF members burnt and destroyed properties belonging to MDC supporters,” an Epworth resident said.
He said this irked the MDC supporters who later the same night decided to retaliate by burning houses belonging to Zanu PF supporters.
“Around 1am, MDC supporters attacked and burnt four houses belonging to Zanu PF supporters,” he said.
In Chitungwiza violence broke out when alleged war veterans ordered known MDC members
from conducting their business at Chikwanha Market.
According to Chitungwiza residents, a group of about 50 war veterans closed the main entrance of the market on Saturday around 5am and only allowed people with Zanu PF membership cards into the market and this angered MDC supporters who beat them up.
One resident said: “The war veterans had to run for dear life after they had been overpowered by the MDC youths.”
At the time of going to press yesterday, police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena had not responded to questions from the Zimbabwe Independent. The questions were sent to him on Wednesday.