BULAWAYO — The MDC formations have expressed fear of the resurgence of terror against its supporters in Umguza constituency in Matabeleland North where Zanu PF activists are allegedly intimidating members of rival political parties.
BY OUR STAFF
Minister of Mines and Mining Development Obert Mpofu is the legislator for Umguza, where supporters of the two MDC formations are allegedly being threatened with abduction, torture and death.
Zanu PF supporters and war veterans waged a campaign of terror against the two MDCs ahead of the 2008 harmonised elections.
A fortnight ago, William Sibanda, an MDC-T youth assembly member in Nyamandlovu, was arrested by state security agents and sent to Lupane for refusing to attend a Zanu PF rally in the area.
Sibanda was released after paying an admission-of-guilt fine for being a nuisance against a Zanu PF supporter, who was coming from a party rally.
The Standard was told that Zanu PF supporters mobbed him for refusing to attend their rally. He was arrested after he told the Zanu PF supporters that their party was “dead”.
Last week, MDC-T chairperson for women’s assembly in Umguza, Sibusisiwe Dube was also threatened with abduction and death for supporting the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai-led party.
MDC youth secretary general Discent Bajila said the party was worried by increased threats of abduction and violence against its supporters in Umguza constituency.
Bajila said: “Obert Mpofu wishes to establish himself as a superpower in Matabeleland North in anticipation of a vacancy in the Zanu PF presidium. He has thus established terror gangs that want to instil fear in our campaign teams.”
He however, added that his party supporters would “stand ready to defend themselves against Zanu PF thugs” in Umguza.
Abednico Bhebhe, the MDC-T deputy organising secretary said Mpofu was under immense pressure to win Umguza after he declared himself the “King of Matabeleland”.
“We have made inroads in his constituency,” said Bhebhe. “It is therefore not surprising that he is now unleashing war veterans and thugs to intimidate our people that are campaigning for a New Zimbabwe that outlaws corruption.”
Mpofu yesterday denied that his supporters were behind intimidation and violence in Umguza.
“We [Zanu PF] do not tolerate any harassment and intimidation of anyone regardless of their political affiliation,” said Mpofu. “If there is anyone who is doing that, then they are not members of Zanu PF.
“They should go and report to police those people who are harassing their members. We are going to win Umguza constituency.”