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Arsonists attack headman homestead


MUTIKIZIZI, Bikita — Suspected Zanu PF supporters on Wednesday torched a 100-year-old village head Zimunya Muonde’s hut, and two others belonging to his son, in a fresh wave of political violence that has resurfaced in the area.

The families, however, escaped unhurt from the arson attack, but lost property which they said was worth thousands of dollars.

Before the arson, the family had received an anonymous letter, purportedly from a “Good Samaritan” warning them of the planned attacks.

Part of the anonymous letter, supposedly written by “a Good Samaritan”, reads: (translated from Shona) “Tell others about this letter . . . I am pained, Zanu PF supporters want to destroy your homes

especially Paridzirai Mahida, Mr Jaya and Mr Mirina . . . This was planned by Jason Chitende and Dakarai Chitokomere. The millita has already been assigned. Mr Mirina (another villager) is accused of receiving a 10kg bag of seed donated by the MDC. I am a Zanu PF supporter, but I am pained because people will die.”

On Wednesday morning, hardly a day after the letter was received, the arsonists torched the two huts as Paradzai Mahida, the wife of the headman’s son Vakira, slept with her two sons, Charles (8) and Kudakwashe, who is just one year and six months old.

“I could have died, but I was awakened by my crying baby who had been choked by the smoke. That is when I realised that the hut was on fire.

“I only managed to take my kids out before the grass-thatched roof fell in. While outside, I realised that another hut was also burning. I then saw some men dash into the darkness and raised alarm,” said a visibly shaken Mahida.

She said she salvaged nothing from the inferno.
The arsonists then proceeded to burn village head Muonde’s shed where his farming equipment had been stored two days earlier.

“We heard the dogs barking, but before I could investigate, I saw a big ball of flame. This was around 1am on Thursday. When I came out, I saw two people running away. All our farming equipment was burnt,” said Muranganwa (88), wife of the village head.

She said the whole village was now living in fear following the anonymous warnings as they had proved not to be empty threats.

“We are literally spending sleepless nights fearing that the arsonists will come back. We are appealing for protection from the powers-that-be because we are now living like slaves.”

Mahida said the matter was reported at Ngorima police base, but efforts to get comment from Masvingo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Tinaye Matake were unsuccessful as his mobile number was unreachable yesterday.

Zanu PF provincial chairman Lovemore Matuke could also not be reached for comment.

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