Witness links Zanu PF to political violence

BY SILAS NKALALUPANE — Marauding Zanu PF supporters attacked people who did not go to the party “bases” in the run up to the June 2008 Presidential election run-off, a local magistrate court was told last week.


Giving evidence in the case in which two MDC-T activists,  Victor Nyoni and Robert Tshuma are facing charges of political violence, defence witness Scholastic Mguni said   local Zanu PF  councillor Genneth  Mpofu led Zanu PF supporters in attacking opposition supporters who ignored calls to attend rallies at their bases.

Nyoni and Tshuma are facing charges of attacking Zanu PF supporters on June 21 in 2008, but the two, who are being represented by Lison Ncube of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, have pleaded not guilty.

“Before the Presidential run-off, Zanu PF set camps in the area where villagers were forced to attend meetings. A group led by a councillor Mpofu attacked and threatened to kill MDC-T members,” said Mguni.

She alleged that on the day when the violent skirmishes erupted, she had seen Tshuma at a football pitch and could not tell whether he was at the scene of the fight during the evening.

“Zanu PF supporters attacked MDC-T members on the day and I went to hide at the Roman Catholic priest’s residence. I am not sure if Tshuma was at the scene of the fight as I had last seen him at a soccer field,” said Mguni.

Nyoni recently told the court that he was in a church meeting on the day of the said skirmishes.

Lupane magistrate Takudzwa Gwazemba on Thursday said he would pass judgement on July 12.  The two accused are out of custody on free bail. Tshuma and Nyoni were initially charged together with six others namely, Cetshwayo Ncube, Lungisani Ndlovu, Jokona Mpofu, Kara Sibanda, John Ngwabi and Edgar Ncube all from Lupane, but these were acquitted due to lack of evidence.

The court heard that on June 21, Zanu PF supporters were coming from a rally held at Mpehlwa Primary School which was supposed to be addressed by the late Vice-President Joseph Msika but was later addressed by Matabeleland North Governor Thokozile Mathuthu.

The MDC-T activists allegedly gathered at Mapanda Dam in Lupane where they hatched a plan to way-lay Zanu PF supporters who were coming from a campaign rally at around 5pm.