Soldiers turn Nyanga into a ‘no-go’ area for MDC supporters
By Alex Bell
Soldiers who have voiced their support for ZANU PF have turned Nyanga into a
‘no-go’ area for supporters of the MDC, as part of a provincial clampdown by
the army in Manicaland.
Described as a ‘Blitzkrieg’, the army invasion in the province has
intensified over several months, with soldiers being dispatched to several
villages. The soldiers have been conducting rallies and meetings,
threatening violence against anyone opposed to ZANU PF. They have also
declared that no MDC meetings are allowed to take place.
According to the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, such incidents have been
reported in Magondo and Mupanguri villages of Makoni South, where an
estimated 400 armed soldiers were reported to have intimidated villagers,
chanting and singing ZANU PF slogans and songs.
Nyanga South is now the latest target of this army campaign and villagers
there are said to be living in fear. Villagers who spoke to the Crisis
Coalition on condition of anonymity said that Headmen and Chiefs from areas
that include Ruwangwe, Fombe and Nyakomba village, were forced to gather
over the weekend. They were then expressly told not to allow the MDC-T
legislator for Nyanga South constituency, Douglas Mwonzora to organise any
meetings in the area
The MDC-T’s spokesperson for Manicaland province, Pishai Muchauraya told SW
Radio Africa that there has been an influx of soldiers in Nyanga, parts of
Makoni and parts of Buhera, and they have admitted operating on orders to
support ZANU PF’s election campaign.
“According to a soldier who spoke to me, but didn’t know I was MDC-T, they
were told to come to Nyanga to defend the ZANU PF agenda. So we are very
concerned,” Muchauraya said.
Muchauraya said that the use of the army is all part of ZANU PF’s tactics
ahead of elections to force people into voting for that party. He said the
presence of the soldiers is evidence enough that some form of peacekeeping
mission will be needed in Zimbabwe in the run up to elections.
“We don’t just need observes. We need peacekeepers, before the election and
during the election. Otherwise, it won’t be fair on our supporters to force
them to vote under these conditions,” Muchauraya said.
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