The campaign was ignited by the newly elected MP Auxilia Mnangagwa at her victory celebration held at Linwood farm in Chirumanzu last week, where she publicly called upon civil servants and villagers holding posts within the MDC-T to come forward and defect to her party.
During a visit by this reporter to the constituency over the weekend, Chirumanzu district’s secretary for information in the MDC-T, Lawrence Mawire, explained that the campaign had already claimed casualties.
“When VP Mnangagwa’s wife (Auxilia) held her victory celebration, she openly said that all civil servants belonging to MDC-T should either join Zanu (PF) or lose their jobs. Just after that, a nurse at the district clinic, James Mavedzenge, was immediately suspended. He was in the MDC-T structures for the district.
Visited at night
“Another top Agritex officer, Mr Magama, known to be an MDC-T supporter also lost his job. Other people seen wearing MDC-T regalia have of late been beaten up and such regalia destroyed in broad daylight. Some people holding MDC-T posts in the district, including me, have been visited by unknown people in the dead of the night and threatened to either defect from the party or go to stay with Morgan Tsvangirai in Harare,” he said.
Gibson Masvanhise, the MDC-T’s Chirumanzu district chairperson, added that the wave of intimidation seem to be aimed at completely wiping out MDC-T structures in the constituency.
“What is surprising is that the MDC-T did not take part in the recent by-election to oppose Zanu (PF) but it is only out members who are targeted, leaving out supporters of the parties that did participate like Transform Zimbabwe, NCA and others. We also have classified information to the effect that traditional leaders have been ordered to come up with a list of all MDC-T supporters in this area so that they can be personally targeted and left out of government programmes like food aid or agricultural input schemes. It’s a crisis we are now all battling with,” he said.
Ishmael Jeko, the MDC-T’s 2013 parliamentary candidate for the constituency, also expressed concern over the Zanu (PF) campaign. He pointed out that the exercise showed that the party had no support in the area and had been rigging the past elections.
“Certainly if Zanu (PF) knew that they had immense support in the constituency, they would not be doing all those dirty tricks. It just shows that they are aware they are not the people’s favourite party but have just been winning the elections through rigging. They are violating the people’s freedoms that are enshrined in the bill of rights of the new constitution. Recently I visited the area after a distress call by affected members of our party and you could just see that the level of fear now engulfing the poor villagers has reached monumental levels. That should stop,” he said.
Prior to the 2013 elections, Zanu (PF) functionaries in the constituency embarked on an intimidation campaign dubbed Vhotera Musha (Vote for your home) in which villagers resettled in the area during the controversial land “reform” exercise were threatened with eviction if they voted against the party.
The constituency, formed in 2008, was delimited in such a way that it covers scattered farms occupied by resettled villagers. To the South it reaches Chaka; on the East the border is at Chalseworth in Gutu-West; North-East borders Chivhu town while the South West demarcation cuts off in Shurugwi.Post published in: Mugabe Succession