Zanu PF youths have been accused of embarking on a reign of terror in Harare’s Mbare suburb where they allegedly set up informal businesses on residents’ private property.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
Some residents said they were being victimised for questioning the activities of the ruling party’s youths.
The hardest hit are areas surrounding the Mbare bus terminus where parking areas are being converted into flea markets.
One of the victims Akim Chitenje said on Thursday he was assaulted with planks and fists by the youths when he tried to destroy illegal structures put up by Zanu PF members that encroached into his yard.
“I destroyed some of the structures until one woman who sells sadza went on to report me to the youths based at Charter House,” he said.
“A group of youths came and accused me of wanting to cause problems in Mbare before they started assaulting me with planks and open hands
“Last year I wrote a letter to Zanu PF raising concern over this behaviour. The letter hasn’t been responded to. I went to the police and then Harare Central Hospital for treatment after the assault,” he said.
“What I am more concerned about now is the security of my family.
“They tried to pour hot water over my wife.
“I don’t know why they are causing this trouble yet we try as much as possible to respect them. It is very painful that people can do whatever they want and still get away with it.”
Parking places around the bus terminus have been converted into flea markets.
In the past, Zanu PF has been accused of unleashing terror groups in Mbare, commonly known as Chipangano, to deal with perceived opposition elements.
During the Chipangano terror campaign, Zanu PF officials were collecting revenue without remitting to council.
Harare provincial youth chairperson Edson Takataka said the party did not encourage its members to take over other people’s property or to engage in violence.
“Harare is a good city. In as much as we encourage people to work, we don’t encourage lawlessness and violence,” he said.
“Let’s live together peacefully. I am going to check on that particular incident you are referring to.”
On Monday suspected Zanu PF youths reportedly went on the rampage in Mbare, destroying a bottle store owned by an opposition activist, alleging that the place was being used to hold MDC-T meetings.
The youths burnt sofas in the building and locked the gate, ordering the proprietors to stop their business operations.
According to the Zimbabwe Peace Project, Zanu PF youths have imposed an economic embargo against members of other political parties in Mbare and are carrying out the activities with impunity as the police seem reluctant to deal with the known perpetrators.