By Tererai Karimakwenda
August 04, 2010
The Constitutional Outreach program which was supposed to peacefully create a new people-driven constitution for Zimbabwe, has instead often brought little more than renewed violence against those perceived to be MDC supporters. ZANU PF has activated the same machinery used during elections in the past to intimidate opposition officials and supporters. This includes soldiers, the police, traditional chiefs, the youth militia and local thugs, who are paid for each assignment.
Reports of assaults, displacements, arrests and harassments are being received daily from around the country. Many observers are questioning whether the MDC formations should continue being part of this constitutional exercise and also of the so-called inclusive government, when they clearly have no power.
Reports on the ground confirm that many people are now too afraid to contribute freely at the outreach meetings.
On Tuesday night armed soldiers, led by Major Muti Musakwa, forcibly removed property and goods belonging to the MDC district treasurer for Zvimba West, James Jonga. The soldiers looted his supermarket at Murombedzi growth point in Zvimba, Mashonaland West province, demanding that he vacate the premises. Jonga had made a contribution during the constitutional outreach meeting that was held in the area last week.
In another incident ZANU PF militia, led by the district chairperson John Kanindiriri, are reported to be assaulting people who fail to attend forced meetings in Chendambuya in Headlands, Manicaland province. Villagers in the area are being forced to attend these ZANU PF meetings everyday, ahead of the official outreach meetings scheduled for this month.
Reports from Hurungwe in Mashonaland West province, allege that Chief Chundu is travelling around the district with ZANU PF activists Peter Madamombe and Bilo Kaunde. They are said to be threatening to beat up anyone planning to oppose the discredited Kariba draft during the outreach meetings. Chief Chundu also repeated the threats while addressing villagers at Kapiri business centre on Monday and at Kachiva centre on Tuesday.
On July 25th, three known ZANU PF supporters burned down two houses belonging to MDC activist Titus Garura, of Ward 11, Kachombo Village in Uzumba, Mashonaland East. Garura said he saw fire in the two houses at around 4 am. He was able to identify Temba Nyamubobo, a ZANU PF youth and his two relatives, Rudolf and Aaron Garura, as the arsonists. Garura reported the attack at Mugabe police station, but no arrests have been made.
In Guruve South, Mashonaland Central, former students from the so-called National Youth Service, have reportedly camped out at St Francis secondary school and are performing drills and singing during lessons. The youths appeared at the school last month, claiming they had come to perform community service in the surrounding area. But the locals report that no work has been done and the youths have just threatened to cause disturbances if the villagers reject the ZANU PF Kariba draft of the constitution.