Nyanga villagers arrested after protesting partisan maize scheme
by Tererai Karimakwenda
A woman with a one-year old child is one of six villagers from Nyanga North, Manicaland province, who were arrested by the police on Sunday after refusing to accept ZANU PF’s distribution of food along political party lines.
Charity Katerere and the five other villagers defied a ZANU PF councillor by grabbing their allotted food supplies, a 10 kg bag of maize each. This was after the local ZANU PF Councillor, Edward Maanda, told them get their maize from MDC-T President Morgan Tsvangirai.
According to Sekai Gombe, the MDC-T secretary for information in Nyanga, Maanda tried to sideline the MDC-T supporters in the presence of a government official from Agritex, who explained that the maize was for all villagers, regardless of their political loyalties.
Gombe told SW Radio Africa that the police were also at the scene, and instead of arresting the ZANU PF Councillor Maanda for defying the Agritex, they arrested the victimized MDC-T members and accused them of ‘stealing’.
“They said: ‘We haven’t stolen. ZANU PF is sidelining us and we are just collecting our share’. Police did nothing when the ZANU PF Councillor announced this partisan distribution. They only reacted when our members grabbed their share,” Gombe explained.
Also arrested along with Charity Katerere are the MDC-T branch chairman for ward three Kavarauswa Village, Lovemore Kanende, Dumisani Kanende, Norman Madakwenda, Lawrence Madakwenda and Krispen Tabwa.
Gombe spoke to SW Radio Africa soon after bringing food to the MDC-T activists, who are being detained at Ruwangwe Police Station. He said they are due to appear in court Wednesday morning in Nyanga, which is 90 kilometers away.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) have been engaged to represent them.
The partisan distribution of food and agricultural inputs has intensified since the July 31st election that saw ZANU PF claim a widely disputed victory. Reports from around the country indicate that MDC-T supporters are being denied government resources that are meant for all Zimbabweans, regardless of their political affiliation.
This practice has intensified at a time when Zimbabwe is facing another critical food crisis with an estimated two million people expected to need help between January and March next year, according to The United Nations.
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