Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai Supporters Flee Homes
Political retribution against known MDC-T supporters is on the rise countrywide, amid reports many have fled their homes after facing relentless threats since the elections on July 31st.
At risk are those who refused to vote with the assistance of ZANU PF officials during the elections. The MDC-T said it is aware of a political crackdown against its supporters by ZANU PF functionaries.
A source at Harvest House said they are busy compiling reports from mostly rural areas, where their supporters are being punished for not voting ZANU PF.
The most affected provinces are Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Manicaland and the Midlands South. In Uzumba, Mash East, MDC-T activists are being ordered to surrender their party cards and regalia to ZANU PF officials or face retribution for their political affiliation.
This directive was reportedly issued by ZANU PF branch Chairman for Ward 10, Charles Mugabe, a development confirmed by the MDC-T’s losing candidate in the constituency, Peckson Kazingizi.
Faith Kamutsungira, the losing candidate for Muzarabani South, said most of her supporters have since fled to the mountains to avoid being harassed and intimidated by ZANU PF supporters.
‘We have reported to the police all the violence and intimidation here but nothing has happened or is being done to deal with the perpetrators. Our supporters are still living in fear and have found refuge in the nearby mountains,’ Kamutsungira said.
In Mberengwa, there are reports that several homes belonging to opposition parties have been burned down. Dr Takavafira Zhou, who stood as an MDC-T candidate in Mberengwa North, told SW Radio Africa that he was travelling to the area to assess the situation.
‘I’ve received reports of homes being burned down and our supporters fleeing the district so I’m travelling to the area to investigate,’ Zhou said.
Zhou said instead of being magnanimous in victory, ZANU PF was now going after their supporters because they know they cheated and don’t have the mandate to rule the country for the next five years.
‘This is what we have been saying all along, that Robert Mugabe is for ZANU PF only and not Zimbabwe. You only need to look at the vitriolic way he has demonized our party and its leadership to know that we are in trouble,’ Zhou added.
The former President of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe said he begs to differ with pronouncements by Mugabe that the MDC-T has been buried and will never rise again, following the thumping defeat by ZANU PF.
‘At best that’s a fantasy and at worse that’s a fabrication. The MDC can bounce back from this stolen defeat, but provided we go back to our founding principles of 1999 where MDC was a multi-faceted structure.
‘We had student movement structures, including workers, so we need to unite workers under the umbrella of the ZCTU. The current scenario where we have two ZCTU’s leaves a lot to be desired,’ explained Zhou.
He said in hindsight, their stay in government has turned out to be major drawback as they gave ZANU PF breathing space to regroup.
‘In 2008 ZANU PF was not only down on its knees but it was down on its belly. Unfortunately we went to sleep and romanced with them, leading to this electoral disaster. We sat with them in cabinet but failed to sniff the way they were going to rig, which I must admit is a major failure on our part,’ Zhou added.