Fund launched for violence victims

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David Siampondo

By TAFADZWA KACHIKO
DIASPORANS under the Zimbabwe Solidarity Network (ZSN) banner have launched a crowd-funding initiative to raise US$100 000 for victims of political violence whose homes were burnt and their families displaced following violent clashes between Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) supporters and suspected Zanu PF members at Moreblessing Ali’s funeral in Nyatsime three weeks ago.

Ali, a known CCC activist, was abducted in Nyatsime and her mutilated body was found two weeks later in the area.

The four victims — Misheck Guzha, Precious Jeche, Audious Makoma and Felix Biri — are currently on remand at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison on violence charges.

The funds raised through the initiative are meant to either build or purchase new homes for the victims and provide financial support to incarcerated party members and their families.

Human rights activist and ZSN member David Siampondo created a GoFundMe account on Friday to fundraise for the group.

As of yesterday afternoon, the account had raised US$1 744.

Freeman Chari, Model Pamire and Irene Chamisa are part of the ZSN team leading the fundraising initiative.

In April last year, ZSN led a fundraising initiative for detained civic and political activists and their immediate families with financial and material resources.

At the time, opposition activist Makomborero Haruziviishe had just been convicted and sentenced to 18 months imprisonment for allegedly inciting public violence, while Harare West legislator Joanah Mamombe and activist Cecilia Chimbiri were both remanded in prison awaiting trial similar same charges.

“The goal of this fundraiser is to raise money to build or purchase houses for the families who lost houses in this case of arson. This will enable families to have decent roofs over their heads and recover from the loss incurred. The amount we raise will be shared and distributed equally among the four families. The money raised will be distributed using World Remit,” ZSN said.

“As you go to church, remember the families who lost everything to Zanu PF violence. Remember their fathers who after losing everything are wallowing in prison. The least we can do is help give them life. Blessings upon you.”

On June 17, Jeche, Guzha, and Mukoma reported the damage to their properties by suspected Zanu PF supporters at Beatrice Police Station before they were summoned by Marondera Police Law and Order Section on June 20.

Jeche and Guzha’s six-roomed and Makoma’s four-roomed houses were set ablaze by suspected Zanu PF supporters on June 14.

Makoma’s seven-tonne truck was also smashed during the skirmishes.

“They thought that they were going to be updated on the cases they reported, but upon arrival at Marondera Police Station, they were told that they were actually the suspects. Their houses, a shop, and a car were destroyed,” their lawyer, Noble Chinhanu told NewsDay.

“Allegations are that they destroyed homes, beat up people, and blocked roads in Nyatsime.”

Zanu PF members clashed with CCC activists after the late Zanu PF branch chairman George Murambatsvina and Zanu PF councillor Masimbi Masimbi ordered mourners to move Ali’s funeral to St Mary’s for wearing CCC regalia in “Zanu PF territory”.

No charges were laid against Masimbi and Murambatsvina.

The arrested CCC members also include Zengeza West legislator Job Sikhala and Chitungwiza North’s Godfrey Sithole, who are in remand prison since their arrest three weeks ago.

CCC interim secretary for public service and social welfare, Maureen Kademaunga on Twitter bemoaned the “capture” of the country’s police and Judiciary.

“Police are being abused in the systematic criminalisation and subjection to the harsh reprisal of three CCC members (Guzha, Jeche, and Makoma) who made police reports after their homes were torched,” she posted recently.

“Police have not acted on Zanu PF legislator and councillor who publicly incited violence at Ali’s funeral, and party youths who abducted and assaulted 21 women.

“Courts are being abused to aid judicial harassment of the arrested that they have denied bail and will possibly subject to lengthy pre-trial detentions as has been the trend.”

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition chairperson Peter Mutasa told NewsDay that Zimbabwe was now a military State.

“Zimbabwe is now a military dictatorship, where the Constitution has been suspended. Citizens no longer enjoy any constitutional rights as an undeclared martial law is now in place,” Mutasa said.

“It is scary that all the institutions of the State that are supposed to promote and guarantee citizens’ rights are clearly captured and acting in such brazen partisan manner.”

The Zimbabwe Peace Project said “partisan” law enforcement was happening countrywide.

Zimbabwe Human Rights Monitors Platform said human security and peace are rapidly decreasing ahead of the 2023 elections.

“We call upon the government of Zimbabwe to arrest the situation before it goes out of hand.”

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