THE Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has accused soldiers and members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police of conniving with Zanu PF thugs to intimidate and harass its supporters, election agent
s and candidates in the run-up to national polls at the end of the month.
MDC spokesman, Paul Themba Nyathi, said there was a small group of members of the ZNA who are prepared to sacrifice their professionalism to support Zanu PF.
“The small group of rotten eggs continues to spoil the name of the nation’s professional army and we urge those members of the force who value the integrity of their profession to encourage their colleagues to stop their activities,” he said.
Nyathi said in a statement this week that the ruling party had intensified violence against MDC activists. The reported incidents of violence fly in the face of assertions by police commissioner, Augustine Chihuri, of calm and peace in the period preceding the election.
Commissioner Chihuri said on Tuesday police had arrested 67 Zanu PF activists and 42 MDC supporters for minor cases of inter-party violence, disproving claims by the opposition that police were selective in applying the law by targeting opposition supporters only.
Chronicling incidents of violence against his party members, Nyathi said early this month, a Zanu PF chairman and secretary in Epworth assigned five party youths to identify MDC activists in the area as targets for attack. A war veteran, Cde Muchavonga, led 12 youths and an equal number of armed soldiers to attack MDC activists in the area.
The gang allegedly ransacked Lameck Calisto, Najina Takadza and Mari Kurichapa’s homesteads and looted $8 million worth of property.
The cases were reported to the police who arrested the attackers but later released them under pressure from the Zanu PF leadership in Epworth.
Chihuri told a press briefing that 40 incidents of politically related crimes ranging from breaching the Electoral Act, Public Order and Security Act, malicious injury to property and common assault had occurred since February. The MDC accounted for 23 of these incidents while Zanu PF accounted for the remainder.
The MDC says in Chiredzi a senior army officer, Col Killian Gwanetsa, who is on a campaign trail for Zanu PF in Chiredzi South using an army vehicle, last Friday instructed war veterans Elson Muko and Flaxman Mpapa to pull down campaign posters for the MDC candidate, Emmaculate Makondo, at Old Boli.
Gwanetsa is also reported to be leading the intimidation and harassment of MDC supporters in the constituency and has already been to Chikombedzi, Malipati and Old Boli.
Nyathi said the MDC candidate for Mudzi West, Shorai Tsungu, was arrested on March 5 and detained at Nyamapanda border police post after attending a meeting called by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to discuss polling station locations in the constituency. He was arrested for allegedly being responsible for graffiti painted on roads in the area.
In Murehwa, four MDC youths, Archibald Mudzingwa, Lovemore and Tapfumaneyi Munyoro together with Martin Chipango, were picked up by the police from their respective homes and were detained at Murehwa police station. The quartet was detained on accusation of distributing MDC campaign fliers.
A group of Zanu PF supporters invaded the venue of an MDC rally in Bindura, and attacked MDC supporters, injuring several of them. Initially the police dispersed the mob but as soon as Gift Chimanikire, the MDC deputy secretary-general concluded his speech, the mob went on the rampage, assaulting everyone who was suspected to have attended the MDC rally.