ZANU PF youths terrorise Chitungwiza
By Nomalanga Moyo
A human rights activist has blamed the culture of impunity within ZANU PF
for the resurgence of politically motivated violence directed at MDC
The comments were made by Rashid Mahiya of peace group Heal Zimbabwe Trust,
following reports that an MDC-T campaign team was attacked by ZANU PF
supporters in Chitungwiza on Wednesday.
The team of seven, led by MDC-T parliamentary candidate for the Chitungwiza
South Canisio Makururu, was attacked as they pinned up posters in an area
designated as a ‘no-go’ zone by ZANU PF youths.
Makururu told SW Radio Africa that the youths, who numbered around 70, used
whistles to mobilise each other “and in a short space of time, there was a
large crowd of them”.
“We offered to leave the area, locally know as Chigumba, but they still went
on to attack us, injuring several members of my campaign team,” Makururu
The injured included Verina Muchegu, Sherry Nyika, Laiza Mapepa, Edmore
Maviza, Lloyd Goredema, Martin Mandizadza and another female activist whose
name could not be established.
The attack came a day after ZANU PF youths forced residents in the town to
attend a rally addressed by President Robert Mugabe at Chibuku Stadium on
Although the MDC-T team knew that the area had been declared out of bounds
for non-ZANU PF members, Makururu said they “moved in on the strength of
calls by President Mugabe for peaceful campaigns”.
In his campaign speeches, Mugabe has been chanting the ‘peace begins with
you, with me, with all of us’ slogan.
However, many Zimbabweans remain skeptical about the seriousness of these
peace calls by the president, with people across the country living in fear
of his party’s supporters.
A map of tension hotspots by peace campaigners HealZim shows that violence
and intimidation have been flaring up in areas where Mugabe has addressed
HealZim director Mahiya said the attacks on non-ZANU PF members demonstrates
deep seated intolerance by the party’s supporters.
“Mugabe preaching peace is one thing, and practicing it yet another. If
youths are allowed by their leadership to use violence and intimidation to
mobilise attendance at these rallies and they get away with it, nothing can
stop them from beating up their opponents at any other time.
“The violence we are experiencing now is a product of long standing impunity
for ZANU PF supporters, where known perpetrators are either not arrested, or
are pardoned and not prosecuted because of their political affiliation,”
Mahiya said Mugabe’s calls for peace would only be meaningful if they were
combined with solid steps aimed at ensuring the police did their work
“Right now the police do not know how to deal with politically motivated
violence: they do not know whether to act professionally or politically,
even when people are assaulted in front of police officers.”
Mahiya said ZANU PF is yet to demonstrate its commitment to peace and cited
the party’s announcement that it was quitting the Joint Monitoring and
Implementation Committee (JOMIC), an organisation aimed at addressing rights
“It is unsettling that the party is leaving JOMIC at this moment. We may be
about to see a sharp rise in violence and so ZANU PF does not want to be
part of any mechanism that will hold it accountable,” Mahiya added.
He said the withdrawal from JOMIC, as well as ZANU PF’s intransigence on
security sector reforms, suggests that the party continues to see violence
as a strategic tool.
On Thursday there were indications that Chitungwiza was still tense, with
Philip Pasirayi posting on Facebook: “A rowdy ZANU PF group clad in party
regalia is toyi-toying in Unit L singing revolutionary songs and chanting
“I was forced to detour because the group is threatening violence and
forcing motorists to blow horns in solidarity with their party’s cause!”
On July 10th, another MDC-T campaign team led by deputy Mines Minister Gift
Chimanikire, was attacked by ZANU PF youths in Mbare who also accused them
of encroaching on ‘their area’.