War veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda has warned villagers in Gwanda he has a “special way” of coercing them to attend his political gatherings.
He also threatened journalists reporting for “pirate” news organisations, he would “secretly deal” with them.
Sibanda reportedly warned churches not to meddle in political issues, but to concentrate on preaching the Word of God.
He is said to have told villagers he had a “special way” of convincing them to attend his political meetings.
Sibanda reportedly made the threats on Wednesday during a rally in Chief Nhlamba’s area, Gwanda Central, where he has taken his so-called Kubudirana Pachena (Being Frank With Each Other) campaign.
“Sibanda warned journalists from stations like Studio 7, that in the event they were secretly covering the meeting, the war veterans also had a way of secretly dealing with such people,” said the villager.
On Thursday, Sibanda confirmed holding the meeting, but denied threatening anyone.
“Yes, I held the meeting. I only said those from the media who want to cover my meetings should come in the open and not do it in hiding because if they do so we will assume they are working for the enemy,” he said.
“I had a peaceful meeting, but I know there were councillors from the two MDCs at the meeting. I later heard they were not happy with the meeting because the villagers, after the meeting invited me to come and stay in the constituency.”
The meeting was attended by church leaders, representatives of schools and villagers.
“The villagers were made to believe that the chief (Nhlamba) had actually organised the meeting only to find Sibanda at the chief’s edale (court),” said a villager, who attended the meeting.
Gwanda North MP Thandeko Zinti-Mnkandla said Sibanda was free to visit any place he wanted like any other Zimbabwean, but should not threaten innocent villagers.
“We understand his modus operandi is to first visit chiefs in the area and he tells them that he will come later on to hold meetings dubbed Ukuphumelana Egcekeni/Kubudirana Pachena.”
He said villagers must not “waste their time giving an ear to Sibanda. In fact, Sibanda should sort out issues in his party to do with the WikiLeaks exposé”.