With the screws tightening on President Robert Mugabe and his former ruling party ahead of the elections, villagers in some Matabeleland districts are living in fear after the recent deployment of soldiers, war veterans and graduates of the Zanu (PF)-initiated National Youth Training Service programme.
Villagers in Matobo, Kezi, rural Gwanda, Plumtree, Ntabazinduna, Nkayi and Lupane are threatened not to vote against Zanu (PF) in the elections.
“They go around shopping centres, homesteads and schools threatening to unleash Gukurahundi Two if we continue to vote for the MDC,” said an MDC councillor in Matobo who requested not to be named for fear of reprisals.
“They accuse us of being sellouts. They even boldly say that even if Morgan Tsvangirai or Welshman Ncube wins, Zanu (PF) will not give him power because he is a man sent by the West to destroy Zimbabwe.”
The villagers vowed not to change their political choice until those who committed the 1980s atrocities were arrested and tried for their part in the gory operation. The nearest Mugabe has come close to publicly regretting the operation was when he said in early 2000 that it was his “moment of madness”.
The MDC-T leader, however, has promised a truth and reconciliation initiative that would result in justice and compensation for families affected by the killings.
“The past four weeks have been heated,” said a villager who lives in Lupane.
“The message is the same, they will not allow MDC to win in the coming elections and if we vote for Tsvangirai, that will only bring bullets for each of us. No-one has been killed so far, but people are living in fear.”
Although there were not official reports of abductions and torture, Tiseke Kasambala, an Africa Advocacy Officer for international watchdog, Human Rights Watch, confirmed that soldiers had been deployed in Zimbabwe’s rural areas.Post published in: News