CHINHOYI — Fear has gripped villagers in the Siakobvu area in the Kariba Basin in Mashonaland West following threats by Zanu PF militia to chase away MDC-T members from the area in retaliation to alleged attacks on Chief Mola’s home by unknown arsonists.
The province is predominantly a Zanu PF stronghold.
Zanu PF youths have unleashed a reign of terror in the area targeting MDC-T supporters whom they accuse of burning down the chief’s bedroom hut on April 9.
Police in Chinhoyi confirmed the attack on the chief’s home and said they were still investigating.
According to the police, a group of unknown arsonists stormed Chief Mola’s homestead at around 4am and torched his bedroom hut while the traditional leader was asleep.
Chief Mola, a known Zanu PF supporter, allegedly lost his traditional gear and other property in the inferno, but he escaped unscathed.Villagers who spoke on condition of anonymity said they were now living in fear of a group of known Zanu PF youths who were reportedly on a rampage in the area beating up known and perceived MDC-T activists and sympathisers.
“The youths have been going from village-to-village beating and intimidating people with the hope of getting a confession from one of us,” said a distraught villager last week.
“They want to know who set the hut on fire. They have vowed to continue with the exercise until they find the perpetrators,” said the villager.
Narrating the incident, Chief Mola, whose real name is Champion Rare, said: “That day I was awoken by neighbours shouting outside my bedroom hut. I got out and was shocked to see I was almost engulfed by fire. I was lucky to escape unhurt.
“This was a clear act of political violence and sabotage perpetrated by Zanu PF detractors,” said the chief. He said he had recently received blankets, clothes, foodstuffs and other wares donated by the Zanu PF provincial leadership.
Following the burning of the hut, which was the only structure at the homestead, Chief Mola has been living in a makeshift structure made of pole and dagga.
On our visit to the chief’s homestead this week, the only modern item of property there was a Mazda B1800 vehicle which he received from government in 2008 as part of his benefits.