Villagers frog-marched to Mugabe inauguration

Scores of unwilling villagers in Gweru's peri-urban areas, which fall under the Chiundura and Vungu constituencies, were frog-marched into busses early this morning and ferried to the inauguration of President-designate, Robert Mugabe.

The constituencies were “won” by Zanu (PF)'s Kizitho Chivamba and Josphat Madubeko respectively in the disputed July 31 elections. This was despite earlier indications that the MDC-T, represented by former Disk jockey Ezra Sibanda and businessman Timothy Mkhahlera, had been favorites among most of the people. Disgruntlement over candidate imposition had rocked Zanu (PF) in the build up to the polls.

Sources said about eight Zupco buses had been stationed at centers like Maboleni, Greenvale, Ngamu and Sino as early as 3am offering free transport to those who wanted to travel to Harare for Mugabe's ceremony.

"There seemed to be unwillingness on the part of the villagers because by around 7am, the buses were still empty. This prompted Zanu (PF) youths to make door-to-door visits to homesteads were they forcibly took people to the buses before also forcing them to put on party regalia," said one source.

"The majority of us were shocked by Zanu (PF)'s victory and so noone really wanted to go and celebrate with Mugabe," said another source.

Other villagers also indicated that in some parts of Chiundura where there are resettled farmers, village heads had been involved in the frog-marching of the unwilling villagers.

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