Zanu PF besieges Epworth


Only a day after President Robert Mugabe preached peace at the Independence Day celebrations, his Zanu PF party supporters went on a rampage in Epworth invading pieces of land belonging to suspected MDC-T supporters and threatening them with death.

The Zanu PF youths were aided in their invasions by members of the the local neighbourhood watch committee wearing official police reflective bibs and people in army uniform.

Residents told NewsDay, the suspected soldiers were known and active Zanu PF supporters in Epworth. The suspected soldiers were not armed during Tuesday’s invasions.

Leaders of the invasion were identified only as Alfred, Mashadaya, Manenji and Vengesai.

When NewsDay visited Epworth on Tuesday morning, scores of people were in panic mode.

They said the invaders had held an all-night vigil singing revolutionary songs and declaring there was no more tolerance for non-Zanu PF elements in the area.

Most residents spoken to said they were gripped by fear of a return to the violence that rocked the settlement in 2008 leaving several people dead.

The mob of invaders had earlier on Tuesday morning gone door-to-door forcing people to attend their meeting.

After the meeting, the soldiers and the youths went to a piece of land belonging to at least five MDC-T supporters, one of them an elderly woman in her 70s who has been farming at the place since 1992.

Army spokesperson Major Alphios Makotore said yesterday he was not in a position to respond to questions from the media over the phone and requested questions in writing.

“I don’t take questions over the phone, put them in writing,” he said.

Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said he was not aware of the skirmishes and would only comment after getting full details.

Police spokesperson Inspector James Sabau said he was yet to receive reports from Epworth.

“I haven’t received anything from Epworth so I cannot comment on that. First, we have to find out what happened and if indeed the police went there, in what capacity did they go there?” he said.

The invaders, including the suspected soldiers and members of the neighbourhood watch committee with official police insignia, were seen in apparel with Zanu PF regalia as they emerged from one of the pieces of land with hoes and axes in hands.

Efforts to get a comment from the mob were fruitless as they became hostile to the news team.