CCC, Zanu PF activists clash in Umguza

Zanu PF Matabeleland North chairperson Richard Moyo yesterday accused his opposition counterpart Prince Dubeko Sibanda of fomenting the violence.

CITIZENS Coalition for Change activists in Umguza, Matabeleland North province, clashed with Zanu PF activists while conducting a door-to-door campaign as violence escalates going into the election period.

Zanu PF Matabeleland North chairperson Richard Moyo yesterday accused his opposition counterpart Prince Dubeko Sibanda of fomenting the violence.

However, Sibanda told NewsDay that CCC activists were attacked in Umguza ward 9 by Zanu PF local chairperson Aaron Ngwenya and his two sons, adding that they had to seek treatment at a local hospital.

“Basically, what happened is that our team was in ward 9 on Monday to carry out door-to-door campaigns and in the process, they also visited the local Zanu PF chairman who has been threatening our candidate Benzis Ndlovu with eviction from Umguza,” Sibanda said.

“So, they visited his home with a view to talk to him and educate him that he had no right to intimidate anyone for participating in politics. After talking to his wife, they met Ngwenya (and his two sons) who attacked them. Four suffered injuries and were treated at the hospital.”

Sibanda said he had to mobilise a team which he led to rescue the activists.

“In the process, a report was made against me because I had called the chairman informing him that Zimbabwe does not belong to Zanu PF and, therefore, he cannot threaten anyone for contesting on behalf of CCC. So a report was made against me for allegedly threatening him. I do not know how I threatened him and as I speak, I have been summoned to CID Law and Order for questioning,” he said.

“That is what is happening, but what we are doing is to try and remove fear from the people of Umguza and anywhere where people are threatened with eviction from the farms or threatened with violence. We are going in there to build peace and make Zanu PF realise that this country does not belong to them only, but belongs to all of us.”

Sibanda said the CCC local candidate had been stopped from accessing water from a community water point in the village head’s yard.

“Ngwenya has been threatening our candidate with eviction. This kind of political abuse is what we want to end in Umguza and other areas,” Sibanda said.

One of the victims, Queen Maligwa, said her team, which included Kudzai Maponde, Chipo Binikwa, Bongani Ncube, Mandlenkosi Mlawuzi, Jabulani Hadebe — who deputises Sibanda, and the aspiring candidate for ward 17, Garikayi Mazwi, were carrying out door-to-door campaigns in ward 9, where the attack took place.

“After finishing our programme in the village, I was driving and we found Ngwenya and his sons Thabani and Cabangani and other people blocking our exit with their truck. They attacked us with metal rods and we realised that they meant to kill us so we tried to escape. They even kicked me on the breasts. They did not ask us anything, but they just pounced on us,” she said.

Maligwa said the attackers then kidnapped Hadebe, Mazwi, Ncube and Khulekani Nyathi whom they took to Ngwenya’s home.

She said they filed a report with the police which led to the CCC members being rescued by the police.

“We recorded our statements with the police and only two of Ngwenya’s sons were arrested,” Maligwa said. 

However, Ngwenya could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Moyo said the violence allegations were meant to twist facts and portray Zanu PF as violent.

“It’s a lie that they were doing door-to-door campaigns. All this was started by Dubeko Sibanda who mobilised people to drive 50km to our member’s place whom they intended to attack. He mobilised people from Bulawayo to go and attack that old man. I have got his chats in which he threatened the old man,” Moyo said.

“I think the old man got aware of the imminent attack and his sons could not allow it, so they blocked the gang from attacking their father. Sibanda is now known even by the (police district leadership) that he is the trouble causer in Matabeleland North and I believe he has been charged for inciting violence, that is not good. Also, the Joint Operations Command in Matabeleland North is now aware of that and people must stop telling you lies. Zanu PF is a peace lover.”

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi was not picking calls yesterday.

However, human rights watchdog, Heal Zimbabwe Trust, corroborated Sibanda’s version of events.

“Between May 13 and 16, 2023, Heal Zimbabwe recorded three cases of assault of CCC members. In Nyamandlovu, four CCC members were assaulted and accused of mobilising votes for CCC. In Headlands, five CCC members were force-marched to a Zanu PF meeting and assaulted. In Mutasa, a couple was assaulted at a funeral and accused of being CCC members,” said Heal Zimbabwe in a statement.

“Heal Zimbabwe perceives the organised acts of violence as barbaric and uncalled for as they cast doubt over the possibility of peaceful, free and fair elections. Additionally, political parties must be torchbearers of the message of peace and tolerance ahead of the 2023 harmonised elections.”

The non-governmental organisation implored the police to enforce the law without fear and arrest all perpetrators of violence.

“Heal Zimbabwe also implores political parties to rein in errant supporters who perpetrate violence.”

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