The Welshman Ncube-led MDC says uniformed soldiers assaulted and abducted its party members on Friday after a rally in Mutoko in Mashonaland East province.
REPORT BY BY OUR STAFF
MDC deputy spokesperson, Kurauone Chihwayi said the attack could have been premeditated as the soldiers appeared moments after Ncube had left the venue of the meeting.
The soldiers stormed the venue in two truckloads.
“The soldiers pounced on our supporters and assaulted them viciously,” he said. “Six of them were abducted, but one managed to escape.”
Chihwayi said others had been hospitalised after “gruesome” attacks. The party was still to ascertain how many had been admitted into hospitals.
Chihwayi said some MDC members, including party’s Mashonaland East provincial chairperson Shupikai Mandaza, had gone into hiding following the attack.
Ironically, Mandaza is a member of the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic), which is tasked with monitoring that provisions of the GPA are adhered to. This includes the holding of peaceful campaigns.
The MDC said it would now take up the matter with Jomic.
“We will engage with Jomic, we will write to the local structures, then provincial and ultimately national structures, with the hope that this can be dealt with,” said Chihwayi.
The MDC spokesman said while President Robert Mugabe was preaching peace, the situation on the ground was different, an indication that he was “not walking the talk”.
Jomic spokesman, Joram Nyathi said he had not received an official report although he had heard about the incident.
Army spokesman, Alphios Makotore also said he was not aware of the incident.
Efforts to get a comment from Mashonaland East police spokesman Bulisani Bhebhe were fruitless, as his phone was unavailable.
Political opponents behind attack
The MDC says in recent days it has come under sustained attacks from its political opponents, who were not happy with the inroads the party had made across the country.
MDC supporters were reportedly assaulted recently in Chikomba where they had gathered at a memorial service that was addressed by the party’s chairman, Goodrich Chimbaira.
The two MDC formations have often accused coalition partner, Zanu PF for using violence to stop their electoral campaigns.
Zanu PF is also accused of using soldiers as part of its political campaigns nationwide, an allegation it has denied.