The team responsible for the operation is reportedly disrupting MDC political meetings in the province and at the same time stepping up pressure on MDC-T supporters to call Mugabe as the Life President. The notorious militia is reported to be forcing other villagers including youths to march in business centres to chant Zanu (PF) slow guns and shouting Mugabes name as Life President.
The militia is disrupting the MDC political meetings because they know that the majority are against Zanu (PF). They are now hijacking the meetings by forcing people to accept Mugabe as Life President. The people are being forced to march in business centres delivering the message that Mugabe is Life President, said John Veremu, a villager in Chigodora, Mutare South.
Human rights activists and analysts in Mutare said such episodes of violence and intimidation reflected determination on the part of Zanu (PF) to dominate the political space with a constitutional referendum and new national elections between now and 2012.
I can confirm that we have been receiving reports that Zanu (PF) youth militia and war veterans have established torture bases in the province and have been disrupting MDC meetings. They are now forcing the people to shift focus to accept Mugabe as the Life President, said Martin Matika a member from ZimRights.
Matika added: Flaring violence has made many people reluctant to voice their opinions in public meetings as the country moves into a referendum late this year or early next, and eventually in new presidential, general and local elections. Some prominent human rights activists who are on the forefront of mobilizing the people to reject Zanu (PF)s proposal to make Mugabe the Life President have gone into hiding alleging harassment and intimidation by the Joint Operations Command (JOC), a panel of top military and security officials.
Our meetings are being interrupted by some members of the central intelligence and plain clothes police. Therefore people will not be free in expressing their independent views, said Matika. Members of the JOC include Defence Minister Emerson Mnangagwa, State Security Minister Dydmus Mutasa, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono, and the commanders of the Army and the Air Force.