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MDC activists go into hiding



TWO senior MDC activists in Mberengwa have reportedly gone into hiding following abduction attempts by suspected State security agents who accused them of mobilising rural voters to desert the ruling Zanu PF party and join the opposition movement.

MDC Midlands provincial spokesperson Takavafira Zhou confirmed the development, saying the party’s district organising secretary for Mberengwa West, Avoid Trouble Mashura, survived an
abduction attempt on Monday, while Luwelin Sibanda went into hiding on Tuesday after unidentified people came looking for him at Mnene Mission where he stays.

“We are certainly perturbed by the continued bullish, callousness, and harassment of innocent civilians exercising their freedom of association, which is guaranteed in the Constitution. We reiterate our long-held view that security intelligence in the 21st century has moved from thuggery and barbarism to use of intellect. We further remind the operatives to realise that Zimbabwe is a democratic and multi-party State and that they must, therefore, respect freedom of association and expression, let alone the democratic rights of MDC activists,” Zhou said.

He implored President Emmerson Mnangagwa to intervene.

“We, however, hope that President Mnangagwa’s office will rein in some of these mad dogs masquerading as (Central Intelligence Organisation) CIO and, therefore, destroying the
credibility of real intelligence operatives whose duty is to safeguard national security as opposed to total abuse of power,” he said.

Witnesses said three men driving a Nissan Hardbody truck pounced on Mashura on Monday.

“The people first met Mashura’s wife and asked about his whereabouts, but she could not reveal anything to strangers. They then proceeded to his workplace and tried to entice him to get
in their car for what they called a gentleman’s discussion. When Mashura inquired what they meant by gentleman’s discussion, further suggesting discussions did not necessarily need one to be in a car,” said a witness.

Another witness added: “Mashura avoided trouble by giving the excuse that he wanted to visit the gents and would come back and get into the car for the discussion. Although the CIO
operatives followed Mashura to the toilet, he outpaced them, jumped over the perimeter fence at his workplace and dashed for freedom. Currently, he is in hiding.”

Zhou said the incident happened barely a fortnight after two senior MDC officials in Gokwe went missing. Prince Paradza and Edify Vushoma had earlier been accused by suspected State
security agents of pulling down a Mnangagwa campaign poster at Gokwe centre bus terminus. They are yet to be accounted for, he said.

MDC also said some of its members who participated in the January fuel protests remain in hiding as they fear for their lives.

Zhou claims that some of their members James Hamandishe of Mutare, Elias Musindo and Makonborero Haruzivishe, both of Harare, and Mathew Taruvinga from Masvingo were forced to skip the country after suspected security forces and Zanu PF militias intensified their crackdown on people who participated in the protests.

Demonstrations began in the country on January 14 following a 130 percent increase in the price of fuel imposed by the government.

Thousands protested against the increase, along with increased levels of poverty and declining standards of living.

The government responded with a crackdown that resulted in 12 people being killed, and many more beaten by security forces, according to local rights groups.

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