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Election Violence Victims Continue To Bear The Brunt

TEARS might have dried for Ross Wynard but memories of the pre-June 27 presidential election run-off violence are still fresh.

He has nowhere to go and the railway station has become his home and that of his two sons aged 15 and 13.
His clothes are worn out and his face looks haggard -–– tired from knocking on one door after the other, from humanitarian agencies to embassies and MDC offices in a bid to find a decent shelter and food for his family.
Wynard, a widower, claims that he was displaced by war veterans from a Mhangura farm where he worked as a labourer for attending an MDC victory celebration party at Chipungu Farm after the March 29 elections.
Wynard is a bitter man. He is angry over the current political developments in the country and accuses the MDC of selling out after signing an all-inclusive government deal with President Robert Mugabe and the leader of the smaller faction of the MDC, Arthur Mutambara.
He says the MDC-Tsvangirai party has abandoned its supporters.
Wynard said: “I went to the MDC offices and raised my problems, but did not receive much assistance. Just passing through the security guys at the offices is a hassle. I feel like they have abandoned me. At times we are told to go to certain churches to get help and at the churches we are told there aren’t anymore political victims.
“I am not happy with the deal, I feel we sold out. Right now Zanu PF is campaigning strongly in their constituencies giving their people land and food to try to weaken the MDC. At their local meetings they tell people that there is no way they can unite with Tsvangirai.”
He says after the war veterans chased him away, he sought temporary sanctuary at the MDC headquarters at Harvest House with other political victims.  
However, at the offices there were not enough resources to look after the increasing number of victims.
 “I was the one who mobilised people to go and seek assistance at the American Embassy. We were taken to a hideout in Glen Lorne and we stayed in tents. They fed us and kept us well,” he said.
Wynard claimed that they later left the hideout in the first week of July when helicopters hovered over the area.
“When the first helicopter flew past people became suspicious. We were afraid that someone could have leaked information to the authorities and when a second helicopter flew past the area we agreed that it was no longer safe to stay at the place. Everyone was given $1 trillion ($1 000 revalued) for sustenance and we left in different directions.”
With his family, Wynard said, they headed for Epworth where he ganged up with other victims of political violence and formed a group — Friends for the Future.
“I was staying in a place called Greenfields or Kumadonoro and I have been trying to mobilise resources to look after my family but things have not been easy. Zanu PF supporters would harass us, especially for refusing to be aligned to a certain camp like Tongogara or Hunzvi,” he said.
Wynard claimed that people wearing Zanu PF T-shirts evicted him from his Epworth home last week.
Harare Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Chiroto, whose 27-year old wife Abigail was murdered before the presidential run-off by suspected Zanu PF members, said he wanted perpetrators of political violence brought to book regardless of their political affiliation.
Chiroto said: “We don’t want to lie to each other that we have forgiven them. In my case I want those who murdered my wife to be arrested. If this happens everything else can be resolved and people can live peacefully.”
The deputy mayor was bitter that police were yet to carry out investigations into the death of his wife.
Chiroto said: “I know the people who killed my wife and I know those who beat up people in Hatcliffe and they are around and are free. Some of them even brag that “PaChimoi pakaurayiwa vanhu vakawanda imi mochema one” (“A lot of people were killed at Chimoio during the liberation struggle and you are crying for only one person.”).
“Soon after my wife’s death her mobile line was still operating. Someone was using it. I would call it and someone from the other end would answer. I went to Borrowdale police station and asked them if they could do a follow-up on such a lead by at least getting a print out from the mobile company. But nothing has been done.”
MDC MP for Zaka Central Harrison Mudzuri who held a rally last week at Fuve clinic and Four Miles said victims of political violence in his constituency were still grieving.
He said: “Nothing has been done in terms of rebuilding huts that were burnt or destroyed during the violence. Most of the people still do not have proper places to stay.
“As a party we have managed to give them food and blankets and at times some temporary shelter and there are sad cases in Ward 18 of people with no homes.”
He said the police were mum on the four MDC activists who were petrol-bombed at Jerera Growth Point a few days before the run-off.
“Five cases of murder were reported in the whole constituency. Police are saying that they are waiting for the conclusion of the talks for them to act,” Mudzuri said.
A Zanu PF supporter from Midlands who spoke on condition of anonymity said he also wanted justice to take its course because MDC activists murdered some members of his party.
Zanu PF claimed MDC killed two of its supporters in Mutoko, burnt four homesteads in Mayo resettlement area in Manicaland while four of its supporters were murdered in Bikita and Cashel Valley, among other reports of political violence.
According to the Zimbabwe Peace Project a cumulative 20 143 incidents of political violence were recorded by the end of September. According to their records from January to September, 202 murder cases were reported with June recording the highest number of 78.
No murder cases were recorded in January and February while March had seven, April 27, May 47, June 78, July 15, August 21 and September seven.
The report states that in April 149 people were either kidnapped or abducted while in June the number decreased to 133.
The number of assaults increased from 219 in March to 771 in April and 804 in June. After the elections the figures decreased to 285 in August and slightly increased in September to 348.
Over 150 people were tortured in April and 102 in June and 78 between July, August and September.


By Wongai Zhangazha 

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