Grassroots MDC supporters in rural Gokwe and Mberengwa districts are calling upon party president Nelson Chamisa and his national leadership to pressure government to stop their persecution.
By Brenna Matendere
In the last two weeks, MDC activists in Gokwe and Mberengwa have been under siege at the hands of suspected State security agents.
Prince Paradza and Edify Vushoma from Gokwe Central reportedly went missing after they were allegedly abducted. In Mberengwa West, the party’s district organising secretary, Avoid Trouble Mashura, allegedly survived abduction on Monday last week, while Luwelin Sibanda was said to have gone into hiding after unidentified people came looking for him at Mnene Mission Hospital where he resides.
The two Gokwe activists, who had gone missing, were allegedly tortured and later dumped while Mashura and Sibanda were still in hiding.
Midlands police spokesperson Inspector Joel Goko said the Gokwe case had proved to be a hoax.
“I am aware of the Gokwe report on abductions. When I made my research with officers in Gokwe, they said it turned out the report was false because the said MDC activists had been seen roaming around the town, which means they were not abducted. As for the Mberengwa case of attempted abductions, that one I do not know it,” Goko said.
MDC spokesperson for the Midlands province, Takavafira Zhou, challenged the police to arrest him and the said activists for a false report if they were being sincere.
“I think the police are now afraid of the State security agents who abducted these activists. Those people were abducted and tortured, yet the police say it’s false. We expect them to be moving in to make arrests of the perpetrators. If they think we are making false claims, why don’t they arrest us?” he asked.
Grassroots opposition supporters in the two rural districts expressed shock at the silence by the party’s top national leadership on the harassment of the activists.
“One reason why they could be neglected is because of colleagues in provincial leadership whose perception is restricted to urban areas. The party tends to be concerned when someone in the national leadership or close to national leadership is harassed, but neglect the harassment of members in remote areas who, in essence, have kept the party visible in rural areas,” said a party member, Nomore Musundire, in Gokwe.
Nicolas Chinembiri, from Mberengwa, blasted the provincial leadership for not pursuing the case of the crackdown on rural MDC supporters.
“The current provincial leadership seems to have less concern for supporters in rural Gokwe and rural Mberengwa, and there is need for national leadership to show concern for all activists under threat if it is to make inroads in rural and remote areas,” he said.
Zhou said the regional leadership would soon act on the concerns by party members.