Zimbabwe- Zimbabwe is currently experiencing a shocking escalation of political violence ahead of anticipated elections next year with reports of houses being torched or petrol.
In less than two weeks Radio VOP has reported political violence cases in Binga, Nyanga, Musengezi and Masvingo.
In Masvingo members of the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai led Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party in Gutu were left homeless after their houses were razed to the ground by suspected Zanu-PF arsonists.
Solomon Madyazvivi, an MDC official in the area, had his home-stead set ablaze a few days after Zanu-PF war veterans had threatened to fix known MDC supporters during a rally.
“I was left homeless after my house was torched. I strongly suspect that Zanu-PF war veterans and supporters are responsible for this act of violence. A few days before this we heard that war veterans threatened a repeat of the 2008 violence and were targeting MDC officials in the area. I am in real trouble because I lost my property,” said Madyazvivi.
Enock Makoke, another MDC activist, had earlier on lost his huts.
Masvingo MDC spokesperson, Harrison Mudzuri, told Radio VOP that his party was disturbed that political violence had re-surfaced.
However, Zanu-PF provincial chairman, Lovemore Matuke, denied Zanu-PF supporters were violent.
“We are sick and tired of the MDC guys who always hide behind blaming Zanu-PF whenever their members are involved in domestic violence. Our members do not set other peoples’ homes ablaze. MDC members are liars and they always want to use our name for silly reasons,” said Matuke.
But Mudzuri was adamant Zanu-PF was behind the attacks because the party had a known culture of violence.
Recently villagers in Nyanga and Binga were warned by Zanu-PF militias that their limbs will be cut off if they failed to attend the party’s meetings.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition spoke to people from Chungu and Lusulu areas in Binga North under chiefs, Simupa, Sinakatenge and Sinamusanga, who had reportedly come under siege from the three traditional leaders who had been enlisted by Zanu-PF to work with its coercive party activists to force villagers to attend the party’s meetings.
The war veterans’ leader, Jabulani Sibanda, had been in the area area misinforming villagers that the constitution making process had been stalled by Tsvangirai, who wanted homosexuality in the new constitution.
In another political violence incident, a headman and self confessed Zanu-PF supporter, Richard Chikwasha, is still missing almost two weeks after he petrol bombed a Musengezi Secondary School headmaster’s house amid allegations police had failed to act on the matter.
The headman had been trying to oust the headmaster, Ignatius Chimbidzika, from the school, which lies West of Harare, for allegations of ill-treating school children as well as the fact that he does not belong to the area or to Zanu-PF.
The headman, believed to be on the run, had failed to mobilise parents to support him in ousting the headmaster from the school.
The harassment against the headmaster began with threats at a meeting held with parents in January where the headman called for the sacking of the headmaster.
Despite the matter being reported to the police no action had yet been taken.