More arson attacks against MDC-T in Manicaland
By Tererai Karimakwenda
Just a week after several houses of MDC-T supporters were burned down in Chimanimani, another arson attack has been reported in Manicaland province. The MDC-T said two houses and a granary belonging to the chairperson for Mutasa Central district, Solomon Mutizawafa, were burned to the ground this week. A statement by the party said “most of the property and harvested crops were destroyed” in the attack.
A note left by the perpetrators provided proof of the political motive for the arson: “Tell Tsvangirai, Magaramombe and Saruwaka to join ZANU PF. Their power of the tongue will not stop us to fulfill our plan, we will continue to demonstrate. If you continue to support the MDC-T, you will support it in heaven”.
The two individuals named alongside MDC-T President Morgan Tsvangirai are Julius Magaramombe, the MDC-T Manicaland province chairperson and Trevor Saruwaka, the MDC-T MP for Mutasa Central. The party said officers from Mutare Central Police Station took statements at Mutizawafa’s burned down homestead, but as usual no arrests have been made.
Magaramombe told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday that the attacks have been targeted especially against their members who attended the party congress in Bulawayo. “This is all meant to intimidate our members and send a message that violence is coming,” he said.
Magaramombe blasted the police for doing nothing, saying that they never act when the perpetrators are ZANU PF supporters. “The problem is that they simply cannot do anything. When it is ZANU PF people the police simply turn a blind eye and this is of great concern to us,” he added.
The frustrated MDC-T official said the continued attacks are “a slap in the face” of SADC officials, who just over a month ago called on political parties in Zimbabwe to abide by the peaceful spirit of the GPA. “In the face of all that has been said by SADC leaders, they still continue to perpetrate violence against the people of Zimbabwe” Magaramombe explained.
Meanwhile, the MDT Youth Assembly chairperson for Mutare West district, Machete Magen’a, was arrested on Monday. The MDC-T said he is facing “spurious” charges of holding an illegal meeting two weeks ago. But at the time of the alleged meeting, Magen’a was at the party congress in Bulawayo.
According to a statement by the Crisis Coalition, parts of Manicaland province are “under siege” from ZANU PF supporters who have gone on a rampage, “intimidating and instigating violence”, especially in areas where the former ruling party experienced heavy losses during the 2008 elections.
Crisis also reported that five bases have been set up by “armed, uniformed” soldiers in Makoni South district of Manicaland. The coalition is calling for urgent security sector reforms ahead of any poll in Zimbabwe.
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