ZANU PF intra-party clashes scaled new heights this week amid reports that supporters of parliamentary candidates who chose to stand as independents were being targeted for persecution by their rivals.
REPORT BY POLITICAL EDITOR
The incidents are reportedly rampant in Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West and Masvingo provinces.
In Zvimba North, a hut belonging to a supporter of Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo’s ex-wife Marian, who is contesting him as an independent, was burnt on Tuesday in a suspected arson attack.
According to the victim, Temba Zulu (21) of Mafuta district in Mutorashanga, unknown assailants came to his parents’ homestead around midnight and torched the kitchen hut in which he was sleeping together with a teenage relative.
Zulu told NewsDay in an interview that he had escaped through a window.
“I am lucky to be alive, they wanted to kill me. This was a calculated attack to eliminate me for supporting Mother (Marian Chombo). I am a runner and youth leader,” he said.
Marian also confirmed the development, saying her supporters were in grave danger.
The matter was reported at Mutorashanga Police Station on Wednesday morning, but Mashonaland West police spokesperson Inspector Clemence Mabgweazara professed ignorance over the matter.
Last month, two huts belonging to one of Marian’s polling agents, Max Chipindo from Katawa village, were also gutted by fire in another suspected case of political violence.
A fortnight ago, Felix Murombedzi, a Zanu PF district chairman for Banket, was found dead in Mazvikadei Dam after he was allegedly kidnapped and killed by fellow party supporters as intra-party violence flared in the volatile farming community.
In Mudzi South, renowned lawyer Jonathan Samukange, who is also contesting as an independent, said his supporters were assaulted by war veterans and other rogue Zanu PF members.
“On Tuesday, they assaulted one of my supporters who had to be treated at All Souls Mission Hospital. I will definitely take this issue up with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission,” he said, adding that his supporters were now scared to wear his campaign regalia.
Similar reports were also recorded in Murewa North where another disgruntled Zanu PF activist, Daniel Garwe, is also contesting as an independent and in Bikita West where former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe senior officials Munyaradzi Kereke and Elias Musakwa both filed their nomination papers on a Zanu PF ticket.
It is alleged both candidates’ supporters clashed at Pfupajena offices under Chief Mazungunye on Tuesday.
Efforts to obtain comment from both Kereke and Musakwa as well as Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo were unsuccessful up to the time of going to print last night.