Two MDC-T members murdered in one week

February 14, 2012 at 10:38 am Leave a comment

By Alex Bell

Two members of the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai have been murdered in less
than a week, amid fears that serious violence along political lines is once
again on the rise.

Last Tuesday an MDC-T activist in Masvingo was brutally murdered, allegedly
by ZANU PF supporters at his Zaka East home. According to provincial party
structures, Sharukai Mukwena woke up on Tuesday night to discover that his
granary had been set alight. It’s believed that when he went to investigate
what was happening he was confronted by ZANU PF youths who attacked him.

The MDC-T’s spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora told SW Radio Africa on Monday
that Mukwena’s hands were chopped off in the attack, calling it “a truly
gruesome murder incident.”

“He was murdered apparently for showing the MDC party symbol which is an
open palm. So they severed both palms from his body before they murdered
him,” Mwonzora said.

Mwonzora said the motive for the death is “clearly political,” explaining
how the “very partisan police have not done anything about this murder.”

On Friday, less than a week later, the party’s branch treasurer in Mbare,
Shepherd Bandau, was murdered by members of the notorious Chipangano gang, a
ZANU PF loyal youth gang.

The MDC-T said that Bandau had been on his way home on Friday when 10
Chipangano members approached and started assaulting him. The party spoke to
a witness who said that the gang “challenged anyone who tried to intervene
with the same fate and we became scared that no-one could even stop the
assault.”

Police were eventually called in and Bandau was transported to hospital. But
according to the MDC-T he lost consciousness while on the way and was
declared dead on arrival.

Four of the 10 ZANU PF youths have been arrested and are detained at Mbare
Police Station. The witness told the MDC-T that the youths who have been
arrested are known under their Chipangano operational names of ‘Zesa’,
‘Paraffin’, ‘Marko’ and ‘Isaac’ but he did not know their real names.

Mourners for Bandau have gathered at Kaseke Village in Domboshava and burial
arrangements are being finalised.

According to the MDC-T, Chipangano is part sponsored by two losing ZANU PF
parliamentary candidates in the 2008 elections, Tendai Savanhu and ZANU PF
Harare provincial chairperson Amos Midzi. Another sponsor is Hubert
Nyanhongo, the MP for Harare South and the Deputy Minister for Energy and
Power Development.

“The three are paying and oiling the ZANU PF youths who operate under the
rogue outfit Chipangano to unleash violence on suspected MDC supporters,”
the MDC-T said.

Incidences of violence against the MDC have continued despite the party now
being a part of government. The leaders in the government meanwhile have all
repeated calls for violence to end, but observers have said it is clearly an
insincere call on ZANU PF’s part. Other observers meanwhile have said that
if the party under Robert Mugabe’s leadership really wanted violence to end,
all Mugabe would need to do is give the order.

Mwonzora said on Monday that these murder cases are just the ones that have
been reported, adding that “we suspect that there are more that have not
been reported yet.”

“We are very worried because political violence is on the rise. We are also
filled with a sense of hopelessness on the part of the MDC in government,
because we are unable to protect our supporters,” Mwonzora said.

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