HomeLocalNews in depth: Chamisa’s supporters under siege as by-elections campaigns heat up

News in depth: Chamisa’s supporters under siege as by-elections campaigns heat up

BY TAFADZWA KACHIKO

Harare disc jockey Tafadzwa Matubuka still suffers the humiliation of seeing his wife, Ellia being beaten by suspected Zanu PF youths in his presence.

The assault happened on Thursday when drunken ruling party youths were captured on camera by his wife defacing some Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) posters in Highfield where he stays.

“One dreadlocked guy jumped off from a vehicle they were moving in and removed a CCC poster from the wall.

“My wife started taking videos and photos when they were doing so.

“They saw her, and got angry before approaching us,” Matubuka, who works for CCC’s online based Change Radio, narrated.

“One guy then confiscated the phone and started beating my wife and ordered her to delete the material.

“My father tried to intervene, but was assaulted.

“I was kicked several times by the , who appeared drunk.

“Eventually the material was deleted and they surrendered the phone back.

“They then started singing, mocking me for my disability.”

The denigrating song sang by the suspects had Shona lyrics, Chirema Chepakona Chimuroi, Nhamo Ikapera Tichadealer Newe.[A street disabled person is a  witch, if the suffering is over will deal with you.)

The assault is one of the many incidents of political violence that have rocked the country as it heads towards the March 26 by-elections.

Analysts have said these are telltale signs that the much anticipated 2023 harmonised elections would be marred by violence.

Reports show that CCC activists have been the main victims of political violence blamed on Zanu PF.

Zanu PF denies the charges.

Reports of political violence against CCC activists have been recorded in Chitungwiza, Harare and Kwekwe.

The CCC launches its by-election campaign in Highfield today, and stakes are already high after the police issued strict regulations for the rally to proceed.

On Friday, a total of 13 activists were arrested in the capital as they moved around the central business district urging people to attend the rally.

Police said the campaign was illegal.

The CCC’s  yellow colour has been associated with selling out just as was the case with red when the late Morgan Tsvangirai led MDC-T.

According to CCC activists, wearing their yellow t-shirts now invites attacks against them.

“How can a person be beaten for wearing a t-shirt? The perpetrator was even wearing his Zanu PF t-shirt,” quizzed Maria Majoni, a CCC councillor in ward 8 under the St Mary’s constituency.

Majoni’s son, Bright Jackson, was also beaten for wearing a CCC t-shirt.


Bright Jackson

“I gave Bright a CCC t-shirt for a door-to-door campaign and when he arrived at his workplace his colleagues commented that he was smartly dressed,” she said.

“They went on to say that they needed similar t-shirts.

“Later on Nyamuzihwa arrived and ordered him to remove his t-shirt, saying he wanted to burn it.”

Jackson was later attacked the same day by the same youths at around 1700hrs on his way home.

In a February 4 incident, the driver for the CCC’s candidate for Kwekwe Central, Judith Tobaiwa was allegedly assaulted, her vehicle impounded and campaign posters were defaced.

CCC national youth spokesperson Stephen  Chuma told The Standard that the attacks were a sign that Zanu PF was disturbed by the overwhelming endorsement of his party by citizens.

“Citizens are being attacked for a simple reason, which is, wearing CCC yellow regalia,” Chuma said.

“It’s obvious that Zanu PF is running scared, especially after the overwhelming endorsement of CCC by citizens.

“Their idea is to sow seeds of fear into citizens through violence so that they reap voter apathy.

“Unfortunately, they won’t succeed because people are ready to defy and resist.”

CCC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere described the acts of violence as a clear sign of political intolerance.

Zanu PF spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa said the allegations that the ruling party was behind the violence were unfounded.

“Go to the police and confirm whether the cases are true and get the docket numbers,” Mutsvangwa said.

“You then tell me that there is this particular docket opened by the opposition.

“Come with proof because the accusations can turn out to be false. I can’t comment on something which is fictitious.”

Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi told The Standard that not all cases reported at stations across the country were brought before the Police General Headquarters.

“It is not automatic that each and every report made at stations across the country has to be brought before the attention of the commissioner general of police at Police General Headquarters,” he said when asked about the reports of political violence.

Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) director Jestina Mukoko said the human rights monitoring organisation has noted an increase in political violence cases since December last year.

“Indeed, we have noted a gradual increase in incidents of politically-motivated human rights violations for the past two months as political parties prepare for by-elections,” Mukoko said.

“This is evidenced by the statistics of human rights violations.

“We have noted with great concern that the ruling Zanu PF has been the major perpetrator and it contributed to over 50% cases in December 2021 and 27% in January.

“So far this month, we have recorded over 10 cases where the ruling party, the main opposition parties, CCC, MDC-T, and the police have been perpetrators of rights violations.

“We have heard of scores of incidents where people were victimised by Zanu PF activists and state security agencies for wearing yellow.”

Mukoko said people, particularly in rural areas, were now afraid of wearing yellow regalia.

“These incidents are happening and we believe that it’s a deliberate act to intimidate people not just ahead of the by-elections, but also harmonised elections such that they will be afraid of expressing themselves, attending rallies or associating themselves with opposition parties.

“And that will put a dent on the credibility of elections in Zimbabwe.”

Zanu PF recently claimed that its supporters have been victims of political violence.

The opposition MDC-T faction led by Thokozani Khupe has also been subjected to violence by its MDC-T rival led by Douglas Mwonzora.

The scenes of violence being witnessed ahead of the March by-elections could predict violent 2023 elections.

Zimbabwe has a history of political violence dating back to 1980 with the worst episode being the Gukurundi atrocities in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.

The North Korea trained Fifth Brigade was unleashed on supporters of the opposition Zapu led by the late Joshua Nkomo and human rights activists say 20 000 civilians were butchered during the pogrom.

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