Bloody Sunday: Victims of political violence speak out
By Chengetai Zvauya
HARARE – What started as a jovial Sunday for MDC supporter Olivia Murape ended at a hospital with the 31-year-old nursing a broken arm.
Zanu PF militia that had invaded the town to block a rally to be addressed by MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai turned the country’s third largest populated urban area into a blood bath.
Murape and a group of fellow MDC supporters had sensed danger when they saw the large number of Zanu PF youths who looked vicious “patrolling” their neighbourhood.
“I was on my way to the rally together with three other female friends when we met up with a group of Zanu PF youths wielding stones, iron bars, knobkerries and sticks.
“They asked us where we were going and we told them that were going to a funeral because we realised that if we had told them we were going to the rally they were going to attack us,” Murape told the Daily News on Sunday last week as she recovered from her injuries.
“They left us for the first time after buying the lie. But then they came back and started to attack us saying we were lying to them as we are MDC supporters. I was struck with an iron bar on the head and all over my body.
“We managed to flee from the youths but I was badly injured and we sought shelter in nearby houses. When the violence ended I was taken to hospital by the party leadership where I received treatment, but I am still in pain,” said Murape.
Another victim who suffered attacks is Zebediah Juaba, the MDC National Director for Organising and Party-Building.
Juaba sustained serious injuries all over the body.
“We did not provoke Zanu PF supporters. It is them who came armed with stones and iron bars to attack us in the stadium where I was supervising the erection of the tent by party members,” said Juaba.
“I was struck with an iron bar on the head and I was also struck on the right knee before I fell down,” he added.
“The youths were shouting that uri mutengesi, vanhu vekwaTsvangirai, muri kutengesa nyika zvino tinokuurayai (You are a sell-out. You Tsvangirai people are sell–outs. We will kill you,” said Juba.
MDC Chitungwiza province chairman Alexio Musundire had his vehicle damaged in the mayhem and had several of his supporters attacked.
“We had a peaceful road show on Friday and Saturday when we were mobilising people to come to our rally. We did not interfere with Zanu PF supporters on Saturday at Chibuku stadium when they were playing their soccer tournament,” said Musundire.
“On Sunday, we called the police several times for help as we were under attack from Zanu PF but they did not respond. It is not true that our party members started the violence but it was Zanu PF youths who attacked us at the stadium,” said Musundire.
Musundire is the MDC MP for Zengeza. Musundire accused the police of being partisan.
The police have previously accused the MDC of undermining the authority of its officers and chasing away state security personnel from their functions.
The police have in the past month banned and disrupted MDC meetings across the country.
Rallies were disrupted in Nkayi, Lupane and Victoria Falls in Matabeleland Province last month where Tsvangirai was supposed to address.
On Friday, political party leaders President Robert Mugabe for Zanu PF and MDC faction leaders Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube addressed a joint meeting of their party top organs to stem resurgent violence.
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