By Tichaona Sibanda
22 April 2010
Villagers in districts of Mashonaland East provinces have been told to brace themselves for more political violence, following ‘promises’ from ZANU PF officials they would be dealt with after the 2010 World cup finals.
Pressure group, Zimbabwe Democracy Now, issued a statement Thursday detailing how Mike Chiwodza, a ZANU PF district chairman, has been going around the province telling villagers ‘We will kill you after the World Cup.’
The report said Chiwodza, backed by a gang of thugs armed with machetes and barbed-wire clubs, was seen roaming villages in Marambapfungwe and threatening MDC supporters.
The report said: ‘On the 8th and 9th April ZANU PF thugs led by Chiwodza went from home to home in the villages around Marambapfungwe district of Mashonaland East, telling the people that as MDC supporters your houses won’t be burned this time because that would be evidence. This time we will abduct and kill you and get rid of your body in the Mazowe River or down mine shafts.’
A week later, Chiwodza visited more villages in the province and threatened to deal with family members should their targeted MDC activists flee the crackdown. He said if the MDC activists escaped, they would find their spouses and children and kill them, after the World Cup showcase in South Africa.
In South Africa, exiled Zimbabweans have faced similar threats that they will also be killed after the World Cup for stealing jobs and putting strain on the local infrastructure. Johannesburg based analyst Luke Zunga told us that officials from various Zimbabwe groups in South Africa had requested a meeting with President Jacob Zuma to discuss the issue.
‘Various Zimbabwe groups are meeting in Johannesburg this weekend to work on the agenda, and a meeting with President Zuma will be called anytime soon,’ Zunga said.
Zunga said he was unsure if threats in Zimbabwe were linked to those in South Africa, though he conceded that in politics you cannot rule anything out.
Analysts warn that Zimbabwe remains in danger of sliding back into the political violence that engulfed the country in the run up to the June 2008 one-man presidential run-off election, unless the political leaders take a firm stand on violence.
In the last three months, political clashes have resurfaced in Masvingo, Mashonaland East and Manicaland provinces.