Harare city councillors say they are no longer able to hold meetings with residents because of the political violence that has engulfed most high-density suburbs in the capital.
The councillors who accused Zanu PF youths for the violence feared the party’s strategy was to cut oaff links between the elected city fathers and residents in the area, to render them ineffective.
Councillor Emmanuel Chiroto, who is also the city deputy mayor said Zanu PF youths had even succeeded in haunting Home Affairs co-minister Theresa Makone out of her own constituency in Harare North where development projects in Hatcliffe were destroyed and the minister was literally chased away.
Chiroto is the councillor for Hatcliffe.
“They have denied her access to utilise her Community Development Fund and she has since found another place to further her projects,” he said.
Chiroto said he was now afraid to call meetings with residents of his ward because Zanu PF youths had set up a base there.
“They have set up a base in the area making it difficult for us to call for meetings with residents. Residents are now afraid to attend gatherings,” he said.
Last week, 51 MDC-T Harare Province Youth Assembly members and Munyaradzi Kufahakutizwi, a councillor in the area, were arrested in Mabvuku.
Kufahakutizwi was detained for allegedly threatening Zanu PF youths operating market stalls in Mbare.
The youths were arrested at a meeting where they were putting in place party youth structures ahead of the party’s congress set for May.
They were charged with unlawful gathering. Ward 43 councillor Panganayi Charumbira said it was now difficult to call for meetings in his ward because people were afraid.
“There is no guarantee of safety. People are in fear of Zanu PF youths and we have no protection from the police,” he said.
Suspended Mbare councillor Paul Gorekore, whose flat was destroyed in the wave of political violence that swept Mbare last week, said it was now virtually impossible for his party to call for meetings in Mbare.