Army behind Buhera violence

green_bomber_youthsHARARE A pro-democracy non-governmental organisation said the army, war veterans and youth militias have led a campaign of murder, rape and looting of property in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirais home town since 2002 and warned that credible elections could only be possible after a thorough national healing p

The Heal Zimbabwe Trust said groups of Zanu (PF) supporters led by soldiers and so-called war veterans with assistance from Border Gezi Training Centre youths, soldiers, police officers, traditional chiefs and Central Intelligence Organisation have been involved in beatings and murder of political opponents in Buhera during the past nine years.

It said some of the victims have been forced to desert their homes or had their family members raped while others have been hounded out of their jobs. The violence in Buhera has mainly been attributed to some elements of war veterans of the countrys war of liberation and deployed army officers, the trust said, noting that participation of such elements

has compromised the victims efforts to seek legal recourse and civic society organizations peace building initiatives. The long arm of the law is yet to catch up with the perpetrators of political violence.

There is only one case of Reuben Muteve where the people who murdered him were arrested but all the other cases are lying idle in the hands of the police. This has further exacerbated violence in Buhera as the perpetrators have gone unpunished for a long time, Heal Zimbabwe said. The police have refused to prosecute the perpetrators of the violence.

Buhera district has witnessed unprecedented violence since the 2000 parliamentary elections.

The district recorded the first murders of Zimbabwes post-2000 political violence after the petrol-bombing deaths of Tsvangirais agent Talent Mabika and another MDC-T official Tichaona Chiminya in April 2000. The political duel between Zanu (PF) and the MDC-T has since then claimed scores of lives, displaced hundreds others internally and destroyed property worth millions of dollars.

According to a Zimbabwe Peace Project report, Buhera South was hardest hit by the political violence that accompanied the 2008 presidential election run-off. About 350 people lost their property while more than 500 others were assaulted by Zanu (PF) militias. Heal Zimbabwe has since the beginning of the year been working with people in Buhera on a peace-building programme to reconcile members of the two political parties.

One of the initiatives has been the weeding ceremonies nhimbes that were led by traditional leaders. This programme has brought together villagers from different political persuasions in an effort to address issues of polarization in local


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