REDCLIFF mayor Clayton Masiyatsva has accused Zanu PF youths in the town of frustrating council operations by extorting and victimising informal traders after the MDC Alliance swept all the seats from Zanu PF in the July 30 harmonised elections.
By Tapiwa Zivira
“In the last council, Zanu PF had five seats and the mayor (Freddy Kapuya) was from Zanu PF, and now that the MDC Alliance has taken all the nine council seats, Zanu PF youths are going out extorting money from commuter omnibus operators and harassing vendors, forcing them to pay $1 each for them to operate. This is affecting our operations as council because the rowdy youths end up clashing with our officials, who will be carrying out their duties to maintain order in Redcliff” Masiyatsva said.
“They are also harassing vendors, accusing them of voting for the MDC Alliance and this is clear victimisation and it can be likened to what has been reported countrywide.”
Zanu PF Midlands provincial chairman Daniel Mackenzie Ncube said he was unaware of the incidents of violence and intimidation in Redcliff.
“I am hearing it for the first time from you. But if our youths are doing it, it is wrong. It is not our policy as a party to do that,” he said.
Following the July 30 elections, there have been reports of harassment of opposition supporters and activists in some areas, including Zanu PF strongholds such as Uzumba, Maramba Pfungwe, Mutoko and Gokwe.
One of the victims, David Siampondo, who contested in the Gokwe Kabuyunu constituency on an MDC Alliance ticket, said he was fired from a local NGO immediately after the elections.
“I received a letter pronouncing me as a danger to fellow employees, but it did not specify in what way I am a danger. My lawyer is looking into the issue for further advice. I am quite certain that the whole debacle is due to my participation as the letter is quite clear. I believe there are political undercurrents at play pursuing me. This is despite that there are known cases of current Zanu PF candidates and activists some who are actually in civil service, yet they are not persecuted,” said Siampondo.