CHINHOYI — Zanu PF has reportedly revived its terror campaign groups countrywide ahead of general elections which the party leader President Robert Mugabe wants held this year.
Some of the party’s infamous militia groups include “Chipangano” in Harare, “Top Six” in Chinhoyi and ‘Jochomondo’ in Hurungwe.
Zanu PF officials have, however, publicly dissociated their party from the terror groups.
Chinhoyi residents yesterday said the resurgence of “Top Six” had coincided with the recent election of a new Zanu PF provincial executive.
Zanu PF’s Mashonaland West provincial chairman John Mafa yesterday distanced himself from the group.
“Zanu PF has no ‘Top Six’ in its structures. Those are thugs and we urge people who might have fallen victim to the group to report to the police,” said Mafa.
The group has been linked to the terror campaign which rocked the province in the run-up to the June 2008 presidential election run-off.
Robert Sikanyika, then believed to lead the group, died in a car crash in April last year.
Residents said they were now living in fear following the group’s resurgence.
“Sometimes they threaten us with violence if we don’t meet their demands. We are now living in fear of their violence,’’ said a 21-year-old man from Cold Stream suburb who, out of fear, preferred to remain anonymous.
Pardon Karengesha from Kasonde Village in Kenzamba said the militia recently beat up his younger brother after he refused to buy them beer.
“One of them told me that if I refuse to give them $5 they would take me to their boss come election time where they would beat me,’’ said Karengesha.
But a man who admitted he was a member of the group denied the assault allegations levelled against them.
“We don’t go about beating people. It’s only that there are a few hot-headed members (of the group) who are tarnishing our image by demanding money from the public,” said the member of the group who declined to be named.
Recently, Harare City Council confirmed Chipangano had virtually taken over most council operations, collecting and pocketing rentals from individuals leasing the local authority’s properties in Mbare and the city centre.