Relentless horror for Bikita residents(07-12-06)

BIKITA - Victims of the ruling Zanu (PF) party's growing oppression at Chikuku - a dirt-poor rural settlement in Bikita - on Sunday confided in Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change, on the relentless horrors they have endured in

the run-up and the aftermath of rural district council elections held in October.
As the fiery opposition leader left Chikuku for another rally at Negovano Business Centre, he visited fields now lying fallow, guided by some of those persecuted during the dark days that preceded the rural district poll in which MDC won five wards in Gutu and Bikita.
Tsvangirai heard harrowing tales of how Zanu (PF) officials, chiefs and headmen had barred them from ploughing their fields this season because they voted for the MDC during the rural district council elections.
They have also been told that they would not get any food this season because they supported the MDC. The people, including old men and women, said some shops were refusing to sell maize meal to known MDC supporters on the orders of Zanu (PF) thugs and hooligans.
Paying tribute to the people for swaying the vote, Tsvangirai said: “You have sent a clear message to Mugabe that you want change and development,” Tsvangirai told the cheering throng. “Remain united and continue to speak with one voice against the Zanu (PF)’s machinations to instil fear through harassment and violence.”
Tsvangirai said the MDC would soon name and shame all headmen, chiefs and village heads who had abandoned their traditional duties to embed themselves with a rogue regime.
Tsvangirai, who was accompanied by national chairman Isaac Matongo and national organising secretary Engineer Elias Mudzuri, said his party was aware that Mugabe’s campaign strategy is repression on a scale surpassing previous polls. Tsvangirai said the Mugabe regime was mimicking the repressive tactics used by Ian Smith’s Rhodesian Front.
“They have copied and perfected the art of repression,” said Tsvangirai. “The only difference is that ours is a brother on brother oppression. Zanu (PF) continues to brutalise the rural people for daring to express themselves in the last elections. But dictators always come second best against the people.”
Tsvangirai said in a new Zimbabwe, the people would never be vilified for following the conviction of their conscience.

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