By Tererai Karimakwenda
24 January 2013
Village heads and traditional leaders continue to be targeted by ZANU PF officials, who are demanding lists of all the residents under their jurisdiction and a breakdown of what political party they support.
Voters in many parts of the country are also being reminded of the election violence from 2008, believed to be part of a campaign by ZANU PF to instil fear in the electorate ahead of elections due later this year.
Reports were recently received from Mberengwa South, Masvingo Province, that ZANU PF councillor Vakai Makuverere and two other party officials threatened to beat up headmen and sabhukus who had more than five MDC supporters on their books.
According to SW Radio Africa correspondent Lionel Saungweme, Makuverere told residents that they ‘seem to have forgotten’ what was done after the elections in 2008. He said they would “deal with” those who continue to support any party other than ZANU PF.
Saungweme said: “Makuverere addressed residents at Makuverere Business Centre in Mberengwa South on January 15. He was in the company of Rumbidzai Bera, the ZANU PF Women’s Wing Chairperson for Ward 24, and another identified as ZANU PF Coordinator, Sibusisiwe Siwela.”
At the meeting, which took place last week Tuesday, Makuverere demanded that each village head bring separate lists of ZANU PF and MDC-T members in the community.
Makuverere is quoted as saying: “I want these lists because people seem to have forgotten what we did to them in 2008.”
In the run-up to the 2008 presidential runoff, ZANU PF embarked on a brutal campaign of violence against supporters of the MDC and Morgan Tsvangirai. Hundreds of perceived enemies were murdered, thousands were assaulted or tortured and hundreds of thousands displaced.
Makuverere added: “We want to know how many MDC-T supporters you have in your book. If a Village Head has more than five names of MDC-T members in his book, we will not only beat him up. We will deal with him. Everybody here knows how. Be warned.”
Saungweme said Mberengwa was hit hard by the election violence of 2008, and many victims of ZANU PF attacks arrived in Bulawayo that year with horrific injuries and stories to tell.
A Chegutu activist named Machacha told SW Radio Africa that residents in the town and remote areas are being reminded that the house of the Mayor at the time, Francis Dhlakama, was bombed in 2008.
The MDC secretary general for Mashonaland West in 2008, Gift Konjana, was also victimised. And the home of Councillor Gadzema from ward 20 was burned down and any remaining parts were sold.
These reminders of the vicious violence campaign of 2008 have caused many observers to dismiss Robert Mugabe’s repeated calls for peace. It is widely believed that Mugabe says one thing while his party officials and supporters do the exact opposite.