BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
VILLAGERS in Hwedza district are living in fear of a gang terrorising people allegedly in the name of Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga and forcing them to support Wedza South legislator Michael Madanha in the impending party primary elections.
Sources said a war had erupted between Madanha and Tinodaishe Machakaire, the provincial youth league executive member who is also eyeing the Wedza seat.
The intimidation of villagers continues despite Zanu PF orders to aspiring candidates to defer their campaigns to avoid fuelling divisions in the party.
Some of the alleged victims said they were living in fear as the intimidation was escalating.
“The threat is so real, we are now living in fear as we are being intimidated by some people who are linked to our MP Madanha who are threatening to burn our houses, accusing us of being aligned to Machakaire who is also eyeing the seat,” said one of the villagers who requested anonymity for fear of reprisals.
“There are some individuals here who are threatening people using the name of the Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, saying our children can disappear if we don’t vote for Madanha.”
The villagers said they had pleaded with Mashonaland East provincial chairperson Joel Biggie Matiza to intervene, but no action had been taken so far.
Villagers in Makonza village in Hwedza South were also reportedly being terrorised.
The alleged gang is said to have visited councillor Phillip Negombwe of Ruzane village in ward 11 at night and demanded that he should come out of his house, but he refused.
While Negombwe was not at his residence when The Standard visited him, his wife confirmed the developments.
“A lot is happening and we are living in fear,” she said.
“It was around 2am that we heard a knock from people who refused to identify themselves. We are being accused of supporting Machakaire simply because we attended a Christmas party he organised.”
The villagers said they had reported the matter at Mukamba Police Station.
“At most of his gatherings, Madanha always threatens people that with the help of his uncle Vice-President Chiwenga, he has the powers to bring soldiers to the constituency and deal with the villagers to restore legacy,” alleged one of the villagers.
Tafirenyika Gumbomunda said he was attacked by a gang of unidentified men who threatened to kill him.
“We are being sacrificed because of the fights between Machakaire and Madanha.
We voted for Madanha, but he is now neglecting us and dragging us into their personal fights,” he a said.
Goto youth chairperson Jerry Chikanya claimed he was a target of Madanha because of his relationship with Machakaire.
“Things are not well for me. I am living in fear; I have been threatened with unspecified action by the MP,” he said.
Another member of the youth league said when Chiwenga visited the area, he made it clear that he did not tolerate people who abused his name.
Madanha was not reachable for comment yesterday, but in a letter dated February 8 and addressed to Matiza, Madanha accused Machakaire of subverting party structures in distributing command agriculture inputs in order to lure voters.
He accused Machakaire of having close links with the vanquished G40 faction, claiming he was a business partner of former Finance minister Ignatius Chombo and was close to former national commissar Saviour Kasukuwere.
He accused Machakaire of dividing and destabilising the party. He claimed his rival funded celebrations when President Emmerson Mnangagwa was expelled from the party by former president Robert Mugabe.
“Your urgent intervention is hereby sought to help this situation which might subsequently divide the party to the advantage of the opposition parties and to the detriment of the ruling party,” Madanha wrote.