|State agents hunt down MDC supporters who fled rural areas
By Tererai Karimakwenda
June 20, 2008
We have received disturbing reports from activists and MDC supporters who were hounded out of their rural homelands and are living a life of hide and seek, pursued by ZANU-PF agents. One activist who fled from his rural home and is in hiding said state agents are referring to the campaign as “Operation Tsuro ne gwenzi”, meaning hunt both the targets and those who shelter them. He said that he has not slept in the same house twice in the last few weeks and has to leave very early in the morning. Otherwise those who provided shelter will be victimized.
In the Mbare high-density area of Harare, the notorius Chipangano gang has been terrorising innocent civilians. They have been evicting suspected MDC supporters from council owned flats, telling them: “Go get accommodation from your leader Tsvangirai, these flats are for ZANU-PF people.” Local residents said Chipangano members are looting furniture and household goods from the evicted families, sometimes throwing everything out onto the streets without warning.
The MDC activists from rural areas are fleeing to nearby towns where they find it easier to hide in the crowded high-density areas. But now state agents are victimizing their families and hunting them down in Harare, Bulawayo and other urban areas.
In Murehwa, state-sponsored violence has hit most of the wards that were won by the MDC in the March 29 elections. Our contacts once again implicated the Health Minister David Parirenyatwa, saying the Minister and ZANU-PF Senator Bright Makonde are directing the operations from a base at Makonde complex. Villagers from ward 8 in Musingwini village were beaten severely on Thursday and accused of being MDC supporters. In wards 1 and 2 the parents of the MDC Councillor Nyahada were attacked by youth militia. They are both recovering at a local hospital.
Villagers were also assaulted in Kanyimo and Mazurura villages. Headman Kanyimo, who is over 80 years old, was not spared. The perpetrators were reported to be war veterans James Madhora, one nicknamed Bracho and Sariri, who is an orderly at a local clinic. Another source who traveled through several villages in Manicaland said he spoke to traditional leaders who had been assaulted for failing to evict MDC supporters from their villages.
ZANU-PF has turned the entire country into a no-go area for the MDC. Observers on the ground have witnessed some incidents and local organizations are providing them with more documented evidence. But it’s clear that Zanu PF have now declared an all out war on the opposition.