Speaking at a Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic) meeting in Chinhoyi last week, Zanu PF Provincial Chairman, John Mafa, said the youths causing mayhem in the town and other parts of Mashonaland West province were “criminals and not party members”.
The group, known as “Top Six”, has been beating up and harassing residents and villagers in the name of Zanu PF.
They became notorious during the 2008 violent elections, in which the MDC-T claimed that 200 of its supporters were murdered by Zanu PF militia and state security agents.
Mafa, who is the chairman of Mashonaland West Jomic liaison committee, appealed to members of the public who were victimised to report all cases to the police.
“I don’t know whether it’s top one, two or six. I’m appealing to members of the public to report such cases to the police,” said Mafa.
When pressed by journalists, Mafa argued the group’s actions were not in tandem with his party’s principles of “engaging the masses”.
Mafa added that political parties that engaged in violence would learn the hard way come elections because “people will vote in their numbers against such a party”.
He said the committee was investigating at least 11 cases of violence in which teachers were targeted by the marauding youths in Hurungwe, Sanyati and Makonde districts.
Another Jomic committee me-mber from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC formation, Silas Matamisa, discouraged journalists from using inflammatory language in their reporting to avoid whipping up emotions within the communities.
The Jomic provincial liaison committee comprises representatives from the three political parties in the inclusive government.
Jomic making progress in reducing political violence: Ngwenya
Another Jomic member in Mashonaland West province, Tagwireyi Ngwenya of the Welshman Ncube-led MDC, claimed that Jomic was making tremendous progress in reducing violence in the provinces despite assertions by some that it was a “toothless bulldog”.
Ngwenya said the committee would continue to go to the grassroots level to preach the gospel of peace.
“As Jomic, we shall go to the districts and wards, even to cell level, preaching the gospel of peace to all members of political parties,” said Ngwenya.