MDC supporters flee as houses are burnt

Harare, – At least 43 families believed to be Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters have fled their homes and are living in the mountains after marauding Zanu (PF) youths burnt their houses and assaulted them near Mhangura.\r\n

The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) has announced that villagers at Gambuli Farm were subjected to a series of attacks on their homes by well known supporters of President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu (PF).

The marauding youths are said to be moving in the company of police officers.

“Some of the villagers now spend their days in the mountains and only come back to the village to sleep in the roofless huts. Only two homesteads belonging to Zanu (PF) supporters were spared.

“A well known Zanu (PF) supporter and headman from the nearby farm known as Mesmar has been reported to be moving around the farms in the company of police officers and a group of the party’s youth league demanding offer letters from villagers. Failure to produce the offer letters has resulted in the villagers’ houses being razed to ground while others burn the thatched roofs of the huts.

“In a Murambatsvina-style destruction that has left many villagers shocked, the group at times asks the victims to destroy their own houses. Some of the houses have been left with only walls while others have been razed to the ground level.

“Some of the affected villagers said they were forced to destroy their properties and those who tried to resist the move were severely beaten up including the headman of the village only identified as Manhenga,” reads part of the statement from ZPP.

According to ZPP, the police officers allegedly fired gunshots in the air to threaten the villagers.

The villagers are said to have moved to stay on the farms at the height of the farm invasions in 2000 led by war veterans and Zanu (PF) officials.

The violations were reported at Chemagamba Rural Police Station in Chinhoyi but no one has been arrested.

In Masvingo, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) Member of Parliament for Masvingo Central constituency Jeffreyson Chitando was on Friday attacked by unknown assailants in Gukunikuni area – about 50 kilometers south of Masvingo city.

“I don’t know the exact number of people who started to throw stones at our car. My car windows were smashed and I was hit in the face by one of the stones. Fortunately my driver managed to take off quickly.

“We went to Gunikuni police station and filed our report,” said Chitando.

However, Masvingo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Tinaye Matake said he needed more time to check with officers at Gunikuni before giving a comment.

“I need to confirm with guys at Gunikuni before commenting,” said Inspector Matake.

Chitando, who made headlines on Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) television early last week for saying Zanu (PF) should not blame anyone on sanctions issue is suspecting that the people who attacked him might have links with Zanu (PF).

Meanwhile, last Saturday Chitando held several rallies in his constituency where top party officials including national spokesperson Nelson Chamisa, attended.