Opposition activists and supporters from Insiza, Nyamandlovu and Lupane districts in the southern Matabeleland region said the veterans were apparently targeting people known to have led campaigning for the MDC or former finance minister Simba Makoni in the last election.A coordinator for Makoni’s Mavambo/Kusile campaigns, Joshua Mhambi, said he had received several reports of violence against their supporters in Insiza, Nyamandlovu and Lupane.One of our campaign team leaders, Stanley Wolfenden, escaped from his farm in Nyamandlovu and is now in Bulawayo after he was raided by the ZANU-PF militias. The militias are targeting our supporters, Mhambi said.
ZimOnline was unable to immediately establish whether the incidents of violence reported by Mhambi were part of an isolated campaign of retribution against opposition supporters or whether it could be the beginning of a fresh wave of violence and human rights abuses.Political analysts have warned that an anticipated re-run of a presidential election between President Robert Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai could spark serious violence between militant supporters of the Zimbabwean leader on one side and opposition supporters on the other.
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena rejected claims of resurgent politically motivated violence. We have not received any reports of political violence from anywhere in the country, he said when contacted for comment on the Matabeleland incidents.However, sources and some villagers interviewed by ZimOnline spoke of a band of war veterans and ZANU-PF youth militia who they said have been visiting and harassing people who led campaigns for the two MDC parties and Makoni.
The war veterans are harassing people and are accusing them of betraying Mugabe in support of white commercial farmers, said one villager, who spoke on condition he was not named for fear of victimisation. They are saying there will be more violence if Mugabe loses the election re-run and people are now afraid of even going to vote in the re-run, the villager added.
The ZEC has not released results of the March 29 presidential poll but it is commonly accepted, including by Mugabe’s ruling ZANU PF party, that the 84-year-old leader was beaten by Tsvangirai.ZANU-PF and independent projections however, show that Tsvangirai was a shade below the 50-plus percent required to take power from Mugabe, but Tsvangirai has claimed victory saying he won enough votes to avoid a second round of voting. Tsvangirai has called for the international community to intervene to stop Mugabe unleashing violence against the MDC in a run-off election. – ZimOnline.
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