All night pungwes for Chayemiti

Villagers in Chayemiti area in Chimanimani are being forced to attend all night Zanu (PF) political vigils (pungwes) by their local headman, Paul Njikizana.

Villagers who spoke to The Zimbabwean said headman Njikizana and Zanu (PF) youths in the area were moving around at night forcing the villagers to attend the vigils where the Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, and his party are denounced.

“Since the talk of elections by President Robert Mugabe started two week ago, we have never enjoyed peace here .Our local headman, Njikizana is forcing villagers to attend Zanu (PF) pungwes at his homestead. Anyone who fails to attend is branded a sell out,” said a teacher at Chayemiti primary school, who refused to be named for fear of victimisation. The teacher said the vigils were held every Monday and Friday at an open space near the school.

“The sessions start with slogans, followed by singing of Zanu (PF) songs. One of the local war veterans, such as Morris Taruwinga and Tinos Mukute, take turns to narrate their experiences in Mozambique during the liberation war and how the MDC wants to return the country to the white people,” added the teacher.

Another villager, who also refused to be named, said he was fined a chicken last week for failing to release his children to attend the pungwes.

“On the 29th of September this year, the headman send his messenger, Ngoni Matiyashe to my homestead to collect a chicken because I refused to release my children who are writing grade seven examinations to the meetings. There is no way I can let my children attend these night meetings because you never know what these people can do to the children,” he said.

He said he was planning to transfer his children to Mutare because he is expecting a lot of political violence in the area as the country move towards elections.

But in a telephone interview with The Zimbabwean, Mukute denied that people were being forced to attend the vigils.

“We are not forcing people to attend our meetings. What we are doing is simply teaching our young people the proper history of our country. As people who liberated this country from the whites, we will continue doing so and nobody will stop us from doing that,” he said.

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