A group of suspected Zanu PF youths has allegedly threatened to evict vendors seen reading copies of the popular private daily newspaper, NewsDay, at their market stalls in Mbare.
NewsDay was alerted by the affected market holders before launching independent investigations that confirmed Zanu PF youths, who last year claimed they had taken over all markets from purported MDC-T activists, were indeed threatening stall holders from reading the newspaper.
NewsDay Editor, Brian Mangwende, on Tuesday condemned the threats and urged the police to “do the most honourable thing and ensure all those malcontents of society are brought to book.”
“The legion of doom intolerant to freedom of speech and free flow of information should not be allowed space in a democratic society such as ours, but be condemned to the dungeon,” he said.
One of the messages sent by distressed vendors reads: “Zanu PF is refusing stall holders to read the NewsDay alleging it is an MDC paper and for being truthful.”
Newspaper vendors said the problem was only limited to stall holders as a strategy to evict MDC-T activists.
Last year, Zanu PF youths led by Jim Kunaka declared they had taken over and would continue to take over flea markets that have been given to MDC-T people in the city.
Contacted for comment on Tuesday, Kunaka dismissed the claims saying: “Zanu PF youths are very responsible and would not do such nonsensical things,” he said.
“People who are saying that want to tarnish the image of the party and should just leave us alone.
“We can’t do such a thing unless the paper attacks our President Robert Mugabe because we cannot tolerate that,” he said.
Meanwhile, Paul Gorekore, as a former Harare city councillor who was suspended by Local Government Minister, Ignatius Chombo said scores of people displaced by Zanu PF youths were now returning to their homes, but neighbours seen interacting with them were being threatened with unspecified action.
“MDC-T supporters who had gone into hiding are coming back into Mbare, but are being isolated. Anyone seen interacting with them lands themselves in trouble,” said Gorekore, whose house was destroyed by suspected Zanu PF supporters recently.