Crisis group warns that ZANU PF violence is on the rise
By Violet Gonda
23 September 2009
ZANU PF militia have begun a fresh wave of violence, especially in the rural areas, according to a statement issued by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition. On Wednesday the pressure group said although the new government, through its organ on National Healing, continues to preach the gospel of reconciliation, Zimbabwe could be witnessing a renaissance of the violence which engulfed the country during last year’s election period.
Those being targeted include members of civil society and MDC supporters. The Coalition said activist Kudzai Mutarangi was beaten up on Saturday by ZANU PF militia at Greencroft shopping centre in Harare, for wearing a Crisis Coalition t-shirt. He was wearing a t-shirt written SAY NO TO KARIBA DRAFT, but reportedly had it torn off and was forced to wear a ZANU PF t-shirt instead.
The notorious militia, soldiers and ZANU PF members are said to be behind this latest victimisation campaign.
The pressure group said reports from Chiweshe’s Chaona area named ZANU PF supporters who are terrorising MDC activists, and telling villagers that the coalition government is ‘only functional in Harare’, not in the rural areas, and demanding that MDC supporters surrender their membership cards.
Villagers in Murambapfungwe are allegedly being assaulted and forced to surrender their MDC party cards. It is reported that a Mrs Machokoto and Peter Katsokonya were brutally tortured by ZANU members, resulting in Machokoto fleeing her home, while Katsokonya is receiving medical treatment in Harare.
Additionally soldiers deployed to Mwenezi last year, under Operation Maguta, reportedly held a meeting at Mwenezi District Hall on September 16th to campaign for the controversial Kariba Draft constitution. The Crisis Coalition said the soldiers denounced the inclusive government and told Mwenezi residents that Zimbabwe cannot be ruled by any party except for ZANU PF.
It is also understood that bases have been set up by ZANU PF structures in Shamva, Wedza, Bindura and Mberengwa to ‘conscientise’ the communities on the Kariba Draft and how it should be used as a reference point to the constitution making process.
The MDC and civic groups have condemned the use of the Kariba Draft as a reference point, saying the process to draft a new constitution should not be about individuals or political parties, but a people-centred initiative.
Furthermore, the latest reports of violence are in gross violation of the Global Political Agreement, signed by all the rival political parties in September last year. ZANU PF and the MDC formations agreed to put an end to the polarisation, divisions, conflict and intolerance that has characterised Zimbabwean politics and society in recent times. The GPA also assured Zimbabweans that the new government would “build a society free of violence, fear, intimidation, hatred, patronage, corruption and founded on justice, fairness, openness, transparency, dignity and equality.”
But a year after the signing of this deal, Zimbabweans are still to find peace.