By Tichaona Sibanda
17 August 2010
A new wave of violence erupted in Chimanimani district on Sunday when some ZANU PF militias armed with machetes, sticks and stones attacked MDC activists at Bvumbura village.
Gun shots were also heard in the area but reports suggest there were warning shots fired into the air by the militias to frighten some of the villagers from confronting them.
Eyewitnesses say that violence began when a militia, accompanied by known ZANU PF activists, attacked homes belonging to several MDC activists.
MDC spokesman for Manicaland province, Pishai Muchauraya, told us the militias destroyed property worth thousands of dollars. Some of the property destroyed included satellite dishes and solar panels.
However, when the home-owners tried to drive the militias away from the area shots were allegedly fired into the air to scare them. But this decision by the home owners to try and confront the militias led to the feared CIO visiting the village Monday, where they led away some MDC activists at gun point.
‘The CIO’s were in the company of ZANU PF provincial member Janet Knight when they force marched our activists into their vehicles. They were first taken to an isolated location where they beaten up badly with logs before they were dumped at the Cashel Valley police station,’ Muchauraya said.
Muchauraya identified their supporters being held behind bars as Joseph and Tinashe Chikware, Stanley, David and Wilson Kuretu. The other two are John Jiyamwa and Matibiri Nyando.
Access to the group has been denied by the police who say they have nothing to do with the ‘prisoners’ because they did not arrest them.
‘There’ve been attempts by our people to visit the group but access has been denied possibly from instructions from the CIO. We’ve also failed to deliver food to them, so it’s a worry really that victims of a political crime are being treated like criminals,’ Muchauraya said.
It is believed the seven were targeted for being too vocal at a constitution-making outreach meeting held in the area last week and the MDC have fingered several senior ZANU PF members for sponsoring violence in the restive province.
Politburo member and Minister, Didymus Mutasa, is reportedly spearheading the violence campaign in Makoni district, while Central Committee member, Enock Porusingazi, is causing mayhem in Chipinge south.
Hubert Nyanhongo, ZANU PF MP for Harare south, who is reportedly eyeing the Nyanga seat, is leading a team of war vets on a path of destruction in the eastern highlands district.
A woman police inspector, identified as Florence Marume, is making life difficult for MDC supporters in Mutare, while Major Svosve of the army is running riot in Buhera.
‘What surprises us is that we’ve seen some arms of war in the hands of war veterans and militias. These are the same weapons that were used during the 2008 violence and its clear they’ve been brought back for the same purpose,’ said the Makoni South MP.