HomeCommentSoldiers, police fuelling violence

Comment: Sinister Wind Blows from Addis Ababa

Arson attacks have already been reported against MDC-T activists in Bikita, Masvingo Province.

Human rights organisations also reported increasing intimidation of villagers in various areas which include Chakari in Mashonaland West and Gokwe- Gumunyu in the Midlands. Soldiers based at Gokwe Centre are reportedly involved in instilling fear in residents ahead of anticipated polls.

According to witnesses, three police officers at Highlands police station addressed about 20 people at the weekend inside the police yard on the preparedness of the elections.

One of the officers was holding a clip board with the name T Matanga.

The source, however, could not establish whether the ordinary citizens were members of the Neighbourhood Watch Committees.

It is understood that the officers who addressed the civilians told them that they must know their “enemies” in the area.

“They were told that you must be Zanu PF otherwise you cannot serve someone you don’t like. They were told to read the Herald and be up to date with what is happening and if they were ever seen reading privately owned newspapers they would also be viewed as enemies,” said the source.

Harare province police spokesperson Inspector James Sabau expressed ignorance over the issue but said they would investigate the matter. 

The source said the people were also told that they were going to be instrumental before and after the elections and that they must be vigilant and know their enemies.

No date has yet been set  for elections, but President Robert Mugabe, during his address to the party’s central committee last week, indicated that the dates for polls could be announced in May. This has been rejected by the MDC formations who have insisted on reforms as agreed on in the Global Political Agreement before elections can be held.

Tension is reportedly also building up in Sanyati.

Traner Ruzvidzo, the MDC-T Political Liaison officer for Jomic in the Midlands, told the Independent that tensions were now very high in the area.
Ruzvidzo says she assisted victims of political violence in Mashonaland West Province and there were clear signs that Zanu PF supporters on the ground were already preparing for elections.

In one incident on the evening of March 27, MDC-T organising secretary for Sanyati Reuben Banda was attacked by about six suspected Zanu PF supporters in Sechuru.

Before the attack, Banda had attended a party training leadership meeting. His attackers cited his involvement at the meeting as one of the reasons for beating him.

“They started beating Banda accusing him of planning to create bombs at the meeting they had on  March 26 that was based on training leadership. They hit him with an iron bar in the head and this was at Nyarude business centre,” said Ruzvidzo.

She said on the same day the Zanu PF activists led by war veteran Aneas Mapfumo went to Madzivaenzou area where they attacked an MDC-T activist, Amos Zhou at his home.

She said the assailants attacked Zhou with an axe and this affected his hip and backbone.

Ruzvidzo claimed that the same group proceeded to another MDC-T supporter, Josiah Shumba’s home where they wanted to take him to a base in the same area for harassment and torture.

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