THE Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) has released a report indicating that Mudzi district in Mashonaland East had become the latest hotbed of political violence, with candidates complaining of vandalism of their campaign posters amid threats to burn their houses.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
The rights group said threats to political opponents by Zanu PF supporters had begun in Mudzi, with UANC Mudzi candidate Silver Chiripanyanga having been recently threatened by the ruling party
During the 2008 elections, Mudzi gained notoriety for political violence led by the now late MP Aquallinah Katsande, and her son George Katsande (Zanu PF), which they meted on MDC-T supporters.
“The threats against the National Assembly aspirant reportedly occurred in June in Mapundu village under Chief Mukota in Mudzi North constituency, leading to both the threats and the perpetrators being reported to the local police’s Law and Order Section,” ZimRights said.
“During the same month in Mudzi, police received a case accusing Zanu PF supporters of tearing up posters of independent candidate, Anyway Mupanduki, at Choori business centre as political temperatures rise.”
The accused were charged with violating the Electoral Act.
“Mudzi has been a hotbed of political violence, which is enabled by its being one of the remotest areas in the part of Mashonaland East closer to the border with Mozambique,” ZimRights said.
Apart from Mudzi, other areas, where cases of intimidation and violence were reported included Mvurwi, where a Zanu PF candidate reportedly stoked tensions when she blocked the entrance to the stadium to prevent MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa from entering.
In Mutoko, there were also reports that an MDC supporter was assaulted by ruling party activists during a Zanu PF rally.
The assault was filmed by a whistle-blower with footage showing the man bound on the legs with a rope by his assailants.
“The assailants, who kick the hapless victim on the head and face, are only restrained by an elderly man wearing a ruling party shirt and walking with the aid of a clutch. At Mvurwi, the MDC Alliance aspiring MP, Thulani Ndlovu, claimed that Zanu PF supporters had also removed and defaced campaign posters ahead of the rally,” ZimRights said.
Other areas affected by political violence included Mutoko, Bindura South, Bikita West and Chiredzi North, where people are allegedly being intimidated by being told that they would be “dealt with” if they do not vote for the ruling party.