Hurungwe West has turned into a war zone with Zanu PF supporters allegedly terrorising rivals and villagers as the June 10 by-election beckons, it has emerged.
BY NUNURAI JENA
Terrified villagers yesterday told The Standard that Zanu PF had declared a virtual curfew in the constituency to stop agents of independent candidate, Temba Mliswa from campaigning or putting up posters in the area at night.
They said it was now a no-go area for Mliswa’s supporters and agents as they risked being attacked if they campaigned in the constituency.
Mliswa’s sister, Mary, said she was harassed on Friday by a group of Zanu PF supporters. She alleged five of Mliswa’s employees were beaten but refused to report the matter to police, fearing reprisals.
Six headmen were severely assaulted by Zanu PF supporters last Sunday at a rally addressed by secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo and central committee member Philip Chiyangwa.
Chiyangwa was at the meeting appointed to deal with security issues in the constituency.
Chombo, who is also Local Government minister, openly threatened traditional leaders that he would strip them of their positions if they failed to comply with his directive to mobilise support for the Zanu PF candidate, businessman Keith Guzah.
Zanu PF youths have since invaded Mliswa’s Karoi Spring farm, lodges, a restaurant and a service station and have also helped themselves to farming equipment.
Guzah is reported to have distributed “bars of soap” to villagers during the primary elections, where he emerged the winner.
Meanwhile, Mliswa has accused an international organisation of unwittingly aiding the Zanu PF campaign by drilling boreholes in the area towards the by-election.
“How can such an international organisation [name withheld] willingly be used by politicians. I think they have been around for a long time to know better,” Mliswa said.
“If the plan was hatched a long time ago, why is it that as the former MP I was not aware of it? Besides, why didn’t they wait until after the elections which are less than two months away?”
An official at the organisation confirmed that indeed boreholes were being drilled but could not give further details.