Security forces intensify violence against MDC

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC says police and security forces in Mbare are intensifying a campaign of violence and intimidation against MDC leaders in advance of elections Zanu (PF) wants next year.

Morgan Tsvangirai
Morgan Tsvangirai

Piniel Denga, the Mbare MDC MP said that President Robert Mugabe's party had created a climate of intimidation and political violence that could prevent free and fair voting. "Right now we are observing a level of fear that I have not seen before," said Denga, speaking of meetings he held over two weeks inside Mbare with party organisers and supporters of the MDC.

"Everybody wants all this to stop. They want help." Denga accused Zanu (PF) of waging a "war by proxy" against its own people and appealed the 14-nation Southern African Development Community to apply pressure on ruling Zanu (PF) party officials to rein-in the marauding Chipangano militia. Denga said MDC victims that have sought police protection have been arrested themselves. It is understood the police stations in Mbare have been stuffed by pro-regime officials.

"Zimbabwe is using the legal system to undermine the MDC," said Denga, explaining that Zanu (PF) was using security forces and groups of ruling party militants to attack, arrest and intimidate MDC officials and supporters. Critics say President Robert Mugabe's Zanu (PF) has packed courts, undermining the once independent judiciary and giving legal cover to acts of repression.

Political violence has convulsed Mbare where the Chipangano militants, encouraged by Amos Midzi and Tendai Savanhu, began cracking down on MDC structures.

Denga said the Chipangano militants have randomly attacked MDC supporters, attacked vendors selling independent newspapers and anyone regarded as members of the opposition. He said they also looted the party offices in Mbare while police escorts watched passively. The whole retail and wholesale Mbare Musika market has been purged of MDC supporters and their stalls doled out to Zanu (PF) loyalists.

The have even stalled the refurbishment of the Matapi flats saying the project will give the MDC political advantage.

The crackdown on the MDC in Mbare is increasing as the country moves closer to elections. Mugabe, 87, who has ruled since independence in 1980, wants another five-year term. He is facing the toughest electoral challenge of his rule. In an effort to gain greater control, his militants have literally forced everyone in Mbare to support the party. Under the watchful eye of the Zanu (PF) goon leader Jim Kunaka, the Chipangano militia has unleashed unspeakable acts of atrocities, including scalding an MDC supporter with boiling oil.

Despite all this provocation, Denga says the party still believes in peaceful transition. But he says party members were getting agitated and baying for revenge. Its a matter of time before the whole situation explodes.

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