Death threats for NCA members, more MDC supporters flee violence

Zaka, – Zanu (PF) has allegedly issued death threats to members of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) which is driving a no vote campaign urging people to reject Zimbabwe's proposed draft constitution during a forthcoming referendum while more MDC supporters have fled their homes in Mberengwa following attacks by war veterans.\r\n

NCA provincial field officer Sungano Zvarebwanashe and Zaka West Constituency chairperson Severino Vanyoro said they were threatened with death if they went ahead with the campaign.

“Our members are living in fear right now because they received death threats from Zanu (PF). Some received phone calls threatening them with death if they continued to execute their duties,” said Zvarebwanashe.

She said that they were ordered not to hold meetings or try to influence anyone on the constitution making process.

Zanu (PF) youth are said to have visited homes of NCA leaders in Zaka West constituency and threatened to kill them if they continued to ‘influence’ people about the constitution and the referendum which is expected any time soon.

Radiovop was given the names of those leading the threats as Muzvimwe and Murambatsvina.

NCA, led by Lovemore Madhuku opposed the Government run constitution process that is being carried out through a parliamentary committee. Madhuku’s argument is that the process must not be led by politicians as this will
compromise the process. He said the constitution process should be people-driven.

Zaka North Legislator Earnest Mudavanhu of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC- T) said Zanu (PF) was manipulating the electorate through threats.

“I have received several calls from my constituency of people being threatened and intimidated by Zanu activists led by Partson ‘Zvirevo’ Munyoni. Bvukururu, ward 2 and 10 are the most affected areas and villagers are forced to attend Zanu (PF) meetings every Sunday, they cannot even go to church,” said Mudavanhu.

Zvarebwanashe said though they made a police report in Zaka, nothing had been done so far to arrest those who were threatening them.

Masvingo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Tinaye Matake said he wanted to consult officers in Zaka before giving comment.

“I have not received that report, I need to communicate with our officers in Zaka before I give you a comment,” said Matake.

Meanwhile several MDC supporters fled their homes in Murongwe area of Mberengwa East in the Midlands province at the weekend after war veterans and Zanu (PF) youths raided their homes.

On Sunday Zanu (PF) held a campaign meeting at Murongwe Business Centre where everyone residing in surrounding villages was ordered to attend by the war veterans’ leaders. After the campaign meeting one Retired Major Shava and his group of war veterans demanded that all village heads present to give them the list of names for those who had boycotted the rally.

Equipped with the list of those who had not attended and whom they also accused of being MDC supporters, Shava led his group of war veterans and Zanu (PF) youths into villages in Murongwe area raiding their homes, beating and harassing them.

“Most of them managed to flee their homes after getting hint the war veterans and Zanu (PF) supporters were coming for them. “Some fled to nearby towns like Zvishavane and Gweru where there are staying with relatives and will only return if the situation calms down,” said Edius Moyo the MDC-T chairman for Mberengwa district.

Moyo also accused Chief John Bhera-Mataruse of working with the war veterans and Zanu (PF) supporters to harass MDC members.

“We have Chief Mataruse a known Zanu (PF) activist who gives these war veterans a green light to harass our members.”

Rugare Gumbo who is also former legislator for Mberengwa East constituency accused MDC –T for tarnishing the image of his party by claiming that their supporters are the perpetrators of violence.

“These people just want to continue tarnishing the image of Zanu (PF). Mberengwa is my home area and recently I personally engage our supporters there not to get involved in any form of violence,” said Gumbo.

Mberengwa has been a Zanu (PF) stronghold since the country gained independence in 1980.