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Ministers banned


MDC-T Cabinet ministers and MPs whose constituencies are in Harare have resorted to holding secret door-to-door meetings with their supporters following a ban on their rallies by a suspected shadowy Zanu P-aligned militia group, Chipangano.

Piniel Denga, MP for Mbare constituency, yesterday said he was recently banned from Mbare and beaten up by Zanu PF youths after he had visited the populous suburb to supervise his Constituency Development Fund projects.

If I walk alone for 50 metres, I will be beaten up just like a hardcore criminal by those people (Chipangano). How can we make progress in that constituency? said Denga.

When I went to supervise my CDF projects, I was confronted by Zanu PF youths who beat me up saying they didnt want to see me there claiming I was campaigning for the MDC-T. These are the challenges we are facing and I couldnt even meet residents during the typhoid scare because of these guys, said Denga.

Denga said after making a police report on the matter, he was advised not to visit the area without police clearance.

Mines and Mining Development deputy minister Gift Chimanikire, who is MP for Southerton constituency, confirmed that it was risky to call for a rally in the capital, adding he and other members of the party had resorted to holding door-to-door meetings.

If we call for a rally, its either disrupted or we are likely to have violence. We go door-to-door and hold secret meetings because we dont want a confrontational approach, Chimanikire said.

Recently, the partys organising secretary and Kuwadzana MP Nelson Chamisa was stopped by police from addressing a rally in Ruwa.

Chamisa said police claimed they had no manpower to provide security at the rally as they had deployed staff to monitor the Dynamos-Motor Action match at the National Sports Stadium.

Said Chamisa: The MDC is now a banned organisation in the eyes of the police, but it is bizarre that Zanu PF continues to hold rallies countrywide without police clearance.

Two weeks ago, Sunningdale MP Margaret Matienga had her campaign rally disrupted by the suspected terror group, leaving scores of MDC-T supporters injured in the clashes.

Meanwhile, another suspected Zanu PF militia group known as Jochomondo is reportedly terrorising villagers and extorting money from motorists at self-made tollgates in Hurungwe.

Although Mashonaland West provincial police spokesperson Inspector Clemence Mabgweazara denied knowledge of the alleged group, a policeman at Kapfunde Police Station said they are always fighting running battles with the notorious militia group.

We cant allow that to happen, we have not yet received the report, said Mabgweazara.
Villagers in Hurungwe said the group was aligned to a Zanu PF MP (name supplied) during the 2008 elections and now operates in Mahwada village, allegedly frog- marching villagers to its night vigils.

An MDC-T councillor who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation said the group was now a menace to communities around Hurungwe as it posed a threat to investors and developers.

We had a case where bus operators at one time threatened to pull out from plying the Harare-Batanai route because this menacing group mounted illegal toll gates, extorting money from drivers, said the councillor.

Previous Chimusimbe from Chigara Village in Hurungwe said he was made to sing Zanu PF songs as he was being bashed with knobkerries by the group. I was made to sing a song Muri Nhume, (Zanu PF jingle) while the Jochomondo militia flogged me with logs. My only crime was that I had disappeared during election time, claimed Chimusimbe.

Teachers at Mahwada Primary School in the district claimed the militia group threatened to pounce on them, accusing them of being opposition activists.

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