Morgan, diplomats, NGOs all caught in junta’s dragnet


MDC supporter Kudakwashe who was burned almost beyond recognition in Zaka (Masvingo province) this week, by an army hit squad which petrol-bombed the MDC office in which he was working. Nobody has been arrested.

Despite the ratcheting up of the terror and violence campaign against the people of Zimbabwe by the military junta, millions are determined to vote Robert Mugabe out of power once and for all at the June 27 presidential run-off poll.
In a desperate attempt to win the run-off presidential election, the military junta running Zimbabwe has virtually sealed off the entire countryside – making it impossible for presidential contender Morgan Tsvangirai to campaign at all.
They have arrested him and held him for nine hours, impounded his armour-plated South African registered vehicle, disrupted his rallies by sealing off the venues – all the while continuing to subject his supporters to beatings, burnings, petrol bombings and forced conversion to Zanu (PF).
But political observers say this brutal strategy will backfire in spectacular fashion as the majority of people will vote for the party that has been consistently preaching peace – the MDC – despite being at the receiving end of Zanu (PF)’s far-reaching terror campaign.
On Thursday, a number of NGO’s were forced to suspend their operations, raising real fears of mass starvation in the run-up period at a time when most Zimbabweans are now totally dependent on food aid.
The military junta’s countrywide dragnet also caught a convoy of British and US diplomatic staff investigating reports of election violence north of the capital were
stopped by a police roadblock at Bindura, 80km from Harare, where the tyres
of their vehicles were slashed and a Zimbabwean driver was hauled from one
of the diplomatic cars and beaten by a motley group of police, CIO, army and war veterans.
Every major road has a heavy presence of roadblocks, making it difficult for Zimbabweans to travel in their own country – even to get to hospital those injured in the Zanu (PF)-sponsored violence that is taking place throughout the rural areas.
The brutality of the current wave of political violence is said by many to be even worse than that experienced during the liberation war.
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena told the local state-owned media that the roadblocks were necessary to stop guns being moved around the country in the current volatile environment. But, despite that, the assorted Zanu (PF) forces are able to move about unhindered, many of them bearing new AK-47 assault rifles. 
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said his party had confirmed the killings of 60 supporters since the March ballot, but this was “a conservative figure”, as ZANU (PF) had established “no-go” areas where people were “being killed, buried and
forgotten”. No arrests have been made in connection with these crimes.
The only people who have been arrested have been MDC activists such as newly-elected MDC MP Eric Matinenga, a human rights lawyer. Bvudzijena said in a statement on 2 June that Matinenga was arrested for incitement in rural Buhera, in Manicaland Province. Matinenga has instituted court action to bar the deployment of soldiers in his constituency, on the grounds that they were spearheading a terror campaign.
With the elections only two weeks ago, Chamisa said the promise of a heavier presence by the few election observer missions approved by the government had not led to an increase in their “visibility”. The majority of them appear to be ensconced in 5-star hotels in Harare.
A looter continua
HARARE – Members of the youth militia, recruited by ZANU (PF) to intimidate and assault opposition officials and activists in rural areas, are now using the vehicles and weapons they were provided with to commit crimes in the urban areas, reports SW Radio Africa’s Harare correspondent, Simon Muchemwa.
Crimes such as house robberies and looting have increased in the last two weeks. Some of the young thugs were caught wearing the police uniforms that they used to gain easy entry into people’s houses. The youths are also reported to be stealing foreign currency and mobile phones from innocent civilians in broad daylight.
Muchemwa spoke to a junior police officer who said the police had been
arresting these young criminals who are armed, only to be ordered by their
seniors to release them without charge. It is believed that the salaries
that the youths were receiving originally have been reduced or cut off
altogether. ZANU (PF) has a history of using young poor
Zimbabweans, then dumping them with no further rewards. Many are now in
desperate need of money and are taking advantage of the lawlessness in the
The youths travel in vehicles that are known to be owned by the ruling party. Some of
the vehicles were used to transport ZANU (PF) candidates and officials during
the election campaign period before March 29. The twin cabs were also used
by the youths to distribute fliers for ZANU (PF) candidates. Since the March
elections, several MDC activists have been abducted by war veterans and
youth militia using twin cabs.

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