POLITICAL violence targeted at opposition party members escalated this week with the MDC claiming that one of its activists was killed by a suspected Zanu PF militia in Mhondoro while the rural homestead of its national organising secretary Elias Mudzuri was attacked in Zaka.
Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, this week withdrew from todayâ€™s presidential run-off against President Robert Mugabe citing increasing state-sponsored violence against his supporters.
He said over 85 members of his party had been killed, 10 000 injured and 200 000 displaced by state security agents, Zanu PF militia and war veterans since the March 29 elections.
However, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said the run-off would go ahead today because Tsvangiraiâ€™s withdrawal had no legal force.
According to MDC MP-elect for Mhondoro, Bright Kaungwa, 70-year-old Godfrey Mashaka was abducted on Wednesday by Zanu PF militia and taken to their base at Nyamweda Gudo Business Centre.
Mashakaâ€™s wife Veronica and son Daniel, Kaungwa alleged, were assaulted by the same militia and sustained serious injuries.
“He was abducted at his home at 4am yesterday (Wednesday) by suspected Zanu PF militia and the body was later found dumped in a building previously used as a grinding mill,” Kaungwa said. “His wife and son were beaten heavily and chickens at the homestead were looted.”
He said the militiaâ€™s base was disbanded yesterday following the death of Mashaka.
“The torture camp was disbanded this morning (Thursday),” Kaungwa said. “I have previously held meetings with a Lieutenant-Colonel Wellington Maramwidze Tutisa who leads the operations concerning the setting up of the camps and violence in Mhondoro, Mubaiwa constituency, but he openly told me that â€˜I am in charge of campaigns for the commander in chiefâ€™â€™.”
He added that MDC polling agents and councillors Edwel Marimo, Robert Tafa, Obert Busu, Manuel Machaya, Godfrey Jongwe, Givemore Dread Marowa and Edmond Usai were detained at several bases dotted around Mhondoro.
In Zaka, Mudzuriâ€™s 80-year-old father Dzingai, relatives Anthony Mudzuri, Angela Mudzuri, Ronia Gwara, Jane Gomba and Clemence Kungwara were seriously injured when their homestead was attacked on Tuesday morning. Tichaona Marevanhema was shot three times during the attack.
Zaka Central MP-elect Harrison Mudzuri, brother of Elias Mudzuri, said their homestead was attacked by 10 people in army uniforms.
“The group cut the wire surrounding the homestead and fired some shots in the air,” Mudzuri said. “While some were beating people, others were smashing property and destroying houses. Marevanhema had three bullet wounds â€” one in the right leg and two in the left thigh. Kungwara had his nose severely damaged.”
The MP-elect for Budiriro, Professor Heneri Dzinotyiweyi said in his constituency MDC supporters were being assaulted every night and he had taken many to hospital.
In Gutu, MDC activist Crispen Musoni yesterday said a group of Zanu PF supporters went on a rampage, raiding and searching houses at Mupandawana Growth Point looking for MDC regalia.
“The youths led by Jose Mudziwapasi â€” who is feared at Mupandawana â€” were moving door to door searching for MDC T-shirts and bandanas,” Musoni alleged. “They were forcing residents to go with them to their base that is close to Church of Christ in the location.”
He said the youths wanted MDC supporters to leave the party and join Zanu PF.
Martin Magaya, the MDC provincial chairman for Chitungwiza, said political violence was going on in the dormitory town.
Magaya said his party was preparing for the burial of two of the four MDC youths allegedly killed last week by suspected Zanu PF militia.
“MDC activists in Chitungwiza are being abducted and beaten at various bases around Chitungwiza,” he alleged. “There is a base close to Town Centre in Unit D, one in Unit M, St Marys, Unit N and KwaNzira.”
Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) said violence was escalating throughout the country. ZADHR chairman Douglas Gwatidzo said: “Cases are continuing to rise and there is no decrease in the number of injured people we are attending to. This week we have realised that serious injuries were coming from within urban areas. In particular we attended to patients from Epworth, Budiriro, Highfield and Dzivaresekwa.”
However, police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka expressed ignorance over the mentioned cases of violence.
“The situation is so good and so calm,” Mandipaka said. “We hope that the people of Zimbabwe will maintain the peace even after the election.”
By Wongai Zhangazha