Dozens of followers of President Robert Mugabe last Sunday ambushed opposition supporters leaving an MDC rally in Chitungwiza.Â There has also been a crackdown there this week by ruling party mobs, corroborating reports by ZimRights there was an unofficial curfew in the area.
The incident capped a week in which police locked up two of Morgan Tsvangirai’s parliamentary candidates, militants attacked opposition supporters on a door-to-door campaign, and self-styled liberation war veterans burnt down opposition supporters homes in a rural area, Muzarabani.
It all started last week when MDC parliamentary candidate in Makoni South, who is also the party’s Manicaland spokesman, Pishai Muchauraya, was lucky to escape alive after a mob of youth militia and war veterans numbering 45 attacked him and two of his aides in Old Mutare.
This was followed by the arrest of the parliamentary candidate for Bulawayo East, Thabita Khumalo, during a door-to-door campaign.
Khumalo, who is also the MDC deputy secretary for information and publicity, and her colleagues were arrested while carrying out a voter education campaign in her constituency. They were hauled by police and detained at the filthy Bulawayo Central Police Station.
And last Friday, the MDC parliamentary candidate for St Mary’s, Marvelous Khumalo and 11 other party members, including three aspiring councilors, were also arrested for carrying a door-to-door campaign in St Mary’s in Chitungwiza. They have been denied bail and remanded in custody to March 18, just 11 days before the crucial legislative election.
One of the 11 party members sustained grave injuries after his skull was fractured following an attack with a small axe on the head by a council security guard. The gruesome attack took placeÂ at the house of the Zanu (PF) appointed Chitungwiza mayor, Darlington Nota. The injured MDC member is currently in the intensive care unit of theÂ Avenues Clinic in Harare .
On Sunday, Tsvangirai had already left the stadium in Bindura when dozens of supporters of Mugabe’s ruling Zanu (PF) party swarmed around the exit, attacking sympathizers of Tsvangirai’s MDC with sticks and stones as they headed home.
There were no serious injuries but the attack took place in full view of SADC observers who are in the country to try to ensure that the election is free and fair.
Pre-Election Violence Intensifies
.. as Zanu mobs go on the rampage.
HARARE - A wave of arrests and intimidation of MDC candidates and supporters by State security agents, underscored by the arrest of two parliamentary candidates in one week, is expected to intensify in the final three weeks of a bitter election campaign.