MDC Candidate Missing Since February

MDC Candidate Missing Since February

HARARE----Edson Muwengwa, an MDC council candidate in Rushinga has been missing since 15 February in what the MDC and the Muwengwa family fear is an abduction following several deaths threats and an attempt on his life by Zanu PF supporters.

Muwengwa, of Kasika Village, was last seen on 15 February when he went to file his nomination papers at Rushinga council offices where the nomination court for council candidates was sitting.Efforts by Muwengwa and the MDC leadership in the province to locate him have been in vain.  This has also been hampered by the lack of action by the police who have not taken any action to follow on the leads that have been supplied.Information gathered by the MDC’s Information and Publicity Department reveals that several Zanu PF members led by Shingi Runhare went to Muwengwa’s house on 12 February, three days before the nomination court, and threatened Muwengwa’s young brother to be shown where his brother slept at night.Fearing for his life the brother showed them the room.  During the same night some yet to be identified people came and destroyed Muwengwa’s house and looted his property.  Muwengwa escaped unhurt during the attack.The next day Runhare ordered every person in Ward 20 to attend a Zanu PF rally, where he told the gathering Zanu PF was going to “fix” Muwengwa.  Two of Muwengwa relatives; Chengai and Zivanai Chapenya, were assaulted in front of the gathering as the two were accused of supporting Muwengwa’s election bid.After these threats on his life, Muwengwa was last seen after the nomination court.  Efforts by the MDC and his family to trace his whereabouts have been in vain.The police have also not been forthcoming although three reports have been made to the ZRP in connection with disappearance of Muwengwa, twice at Chitange Police Base and one at Rushinga Police Station.This confirms once again, that we are headed for another bloody election. The leopard has not changed its spots. Various reports of intimidation, arrests and violence against MDC members continue to be received from across the provinces.In Mashonaland West province, The MDC candidate for Magunje constituency, Mr. Timothy Mutsunge, was arrested on Monday 4 March 2008 with 17 others for sticking posters and distributing fliers at Magunje growth point. The group included 10 innocent citizens who had received fliers from Mutsunge and 8 MDC activists. Reports suggest that 22 police officers clad in riot gear descended on Mutsunge who had attracted a large crowd and they proceeded to arrest anyone who had in his possession any MDC materials.It is suspected that the Officer in Charge for Magunje known as Ruzungunde is working together with the ZANU-PF candidate for the constituency Franco Ndambakuwa to frustrate MDC campaigns. Ndambakuwa reportedly threatened Mutsunge with assault, murder and arson if he continued campaigning for President Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC.Mutsunge was only released on $100 million bail on Thursday after his attorney from Muchineripi and Associates intervened. He was also ordered to report thrice a week at Magunje Police station. Only 3 people were released since it was difficult to raise the $100 million set as bail for each of the accused. 15 people remain in custody.                               MDC Information and Publicity Department.

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