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Prayers used to intimidate teams

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Enterprising political violence masterminds have outwitted their victims and law enforcement agents by effectively substituting tools of their trade with — of all things — incantations.

On Tuesday, a constitutional outreach meeting at St Clare’s Anglican Mission in Murehwa, Mashonaland East, was shocked and terrified when a woman stood up, ostensibly to give an opening prayer for the meeting, only to launch a vicious tirade at her party’s opponents, threatening them and Copac officials with death.

“Mbuya Nehanda naSekuru Kaguvi mapfupa enyu achamuka (The bones of Nehanda and Kaguvi shall rise),” the young woman prayed. “Mukanyora zvisirizvo zvatataura muchamedzwa nevhu (If you write things that we have not said here you shall return to dust).Vakasaendesa zvatataura vaurayeyi (If they do not accurately reflect our views, kill them).”

Stunned by the tone the so-called prayer had taken, the Copac team asked the woman to stop. They asked a priest who was present to pray – but it was too late. The people had been stunned into silence.

Although everyone expected the priest to lead the prayer, the young woman, a known political activist, quickly volunteered to deliver the prayer which she dedicated, not to God, but to Zimbabwe’s Chimurenga war heroes.

Members of Copac said in interviews after the incident that it was not the first time they had come across such happenings.

“We are used to funny things happening during constitutional outreach meetings and it is not the first time we have heard such utterances,” said a Copac member, who declined to be named.

“When we did a constitutional outreach meeting at Old Windsor in Ruwa, we heard such an invocation and it nearly caused a commotion,” said another Copac member who also declined to be identified.

War veterans led by Jabulani Sibanda are roaming the country intimidating participants.

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