Soldiers beating and evicting MDC members in rural areas
By Tererai Karimakwenda
Scores of villagers in the Zvimba district of Mashonaland Central province
were reportedly beaten and forced to leave their homes by soldiers and youth
militia last weekend, while regional leaders held discussions on the
Zimbabwe crisis in South Africa. The victims were believed to be MDC
Forced evictions and violence involving soldiers has also been reported in
Manicaland province, where the MDC-T said meetings are being illegally
banned. And the ZANU-PF MP Hubert Nyanhongo, who is also Deputy Minister for
Energy, has been using his power to direct the violence in Nyanga North.
According to The Zimbabwean newspaper, soldiers conducted a door-to-door
“purge” of MDC supporters in the Zvimba area, which is the rural home of
Robert Mugabe. The report said that in the last week alone at least 5 people
were severely beaten and “ordered to surrender” at one of the “Taliban
camps”. Scores have reportedly fled and gone into hiding.
Zvimba villagers told the paper that Mugabe supporters passed through the
village carrying a coffin with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s name on
SW Radio Africa spoke to a villager on Wednesday who confirmed that
evictions of suspected MDC supporters have continued. Choosing not to be
named for his own safety he also said many farm workers lost their jobs
after two white owned farms were invaded by ZANU-PF in the last few weeks.
One of the invaded farms was New Grade, where the owner was about to harvest
his crop, and the other farm was known as “pa Bhachi”. Our source said the
owners were simply told “ivhu nderedu”, meaning the land belongs to us.
Displacements of MDC supporters are also reportedly taking place in
Manicaland. MDC-T provincial spokesperson, Pishai Muchauraya, said soldiers
and ZANU-PF youth are beating and removing their supporters from rural areas
in Cashel Valley, Nedziwa, Chimanimani West, Nyanga and Makoni South.
Muchauraya said a military camp has been set up in Makoni South and soldiers
are forcing villagers to attend “pungwes”, where they are made to
sing ZANU-PF songs and chant late into the night.
The outspoken MDC-T official said ZANU-PF MP Hubert Nyanhongo, who is Deputy
Minister for Energy, is directly involved in the violence in Nyanga North,
where a party member died a month ago after he was assaulted by Nyanhongo.
“This will backfire on ZANU-PF because all the displaced members become foot
soldiers for the MDC and we have developed a mechanism to make sure that
they come back and vote during the elections”, Muchauraya said.
The security sector’s involvement in Zimbabwe’s political affairs is one of
the key issues that the MDC-T insists must be addressed ahead of any
elections in the country. But despite much evidence documented by civic
groups and the MDC-T, ZANU-PF officials deny using the police and soldiers
in their violent campaigns.
Meanwhile, the MDC-T reported that Langton Tandarinda, an activist from
Chiduku Village in Buhera West, Manicaland province, died on Sunday from
injuries he sustained during torture at a ZANU-PF base in Buhera, in June
2008. In a statement the MDC-T said Tandarinda’s kidney burst during the
torture and he had been receiving medical treatment since then. Survived by
a wife and several children, Tandarinda was due to be buried at Chiduku
Village on Wednesday.
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