Habakkuk News Watch (1-2/5)
Political violence continues in different areas of the country, as we continue receiving information on violence in different areas. Violence has been mainly concentrated on polling agents but this week we have learnt that a school in Zimuto on Masvingo has not reopened because the teachers who Habakkuk received information that there are two casualties of political violence from Lupane. They are currently being treated at Mpilo Hospital.
HT has also received classified information from well placed sources that it is alleged that people causing political violence in Matabeleland are youths belonging to Jabulani Sibanda. These youths are allegedly being led by CIO’s and are clothed in Border Gezi regalia.
It was learnt that leaders in high offices held meetings with the commanders and the army to avoid inciting violence among the civilians.
It was however learnt that people causing violence in the Mashonaland areas were the army and the police.
Human Rights abuse cases are said to be persistent in Nkayi, in the Dambadzi area.
News24 has reported that two school teachers have been beaten to death in the latest wave of political violence. Wellington Chibebe, the ZCTU head said this at a May Day rally at a stadium in Harare. The incident took place at a school in the north-western Guruve region.
10 more MDC activists have been arrested for alleged human rights violence in the rural areas. They are said to have appeared in court. Some of these include Josiah Nyafumbi (36), Stephen Nemaungwe (35), Temba Chogodora (22), Denford Martin (22), Crispen Tsano (32), and Shorai Chindoko (34).
Food politics continues in areas such as Mpopoma where distributors go through a Zanu-PF list. If ones name does not appear in the list, they are told to stand at the back of the queue. Those who appear on the Zanu list get first preference.
HT also received news that National Foods is currently being controlled by police and the army. The food is therefore distributed to millers who belong to the ruling party, these then in-turn do their own screen tests on the ground, depriving everyone else the opportunity to purchase mealie-meal.
However, in other areas such as Robert Sinyoka and Pumula North and South, the food distribution anomaly has subsided, as the situation has been dealt with.
Habakkuk News watch 6/5
With the preparations for the Presidential run-off beginning, cases of violence have also increased. The independent media have said the violence is emanating from Zanu-PF supporters and the youth militia.
This past week has been marred by attacks on civic organizations and churches. Civic and Christian organizations that are housing victims of political violence are being raided by the youth militia and the army, reported different media houses.
News24 reported that Zimbabwe police dispersed people at the Methodist church in Harare and arrested a clergyman, Reverend Farai Mutamiri and Bishop Sebastian Bakare as well as three other people. Police have also arrested employees of a humanitarian organization, Action Aid. Anne Chipembere, Precious Shumba and three other employees in Mayo, Manicaland.
The Offices of Crisis Coalition, Centre for Research and Development and Plan International in Mutoko were also raided.
The Fingaz (2-8/5) reported that some churches in Matabeleland North have closed down. The Assemblies of God Church in Dola in Bubi closed down and its resident pastor fled after being tortured by Zanu-PF supporters. The pastor was accused of housing displaced people.
In the rural areas, intimidation and the burning down of people’s huts continue. In Masvingo, it is reported that people are being beaten up and they flee to the mountains. Four families are said to have been forced to live in a four roomed house in Mvuma. These families had been displaced by the Zanu PF militia from their homes and have sought refuge in the house.
The same scenario is happening in Zaka, where families are fleeing their houses and living in the mountains after their huts were burnt down.
Bulawayo Agenda also reported that in ward 12 in Matopo the militia has camped at some schools and the teachers have fled. The school children have also been told, not to attend school. In the same area an elderly woman and a baby have been badly hurt and their situation is grave, but they are reportedly being attended to.
In Nswazi, in ward 17, it is reported that some strangers arrived in the area and camped. When asked what they had come there for, they (strangers) said they had come to teach people how to vote. People have become afraid in the area and MDC supporters have begun fleeing their homes for fear of victimization. In Bulilima and Mangwe, in areas such as Tshitshi and Masendu, the youth militia has set up camp. In the Dandada area in Lupane soldiers are attacking people.
In Hwange, people have fled from the Mashala area to seek refuge in the Methodist Church. In the same area, 10 families are being housed at Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace.-report by Bulawayo Agenda.
The situation in Lupane in Ward 18 is grave with one of the councillors revealing that at Makhovula Primary School, a militia base has been set up and the teachers and school children have fled. In Ward 16, there is also a militia camp that has been set up and the militia is claiming to be “on holiday”. A victim from the area narrated how his mother was attacked by Zanu-PF youths. When he went to make a report to the police, they refused to take his statement and told him to wait for the officer-in-charge.
Pastors on the ground also told Habakkuk that food politics persists in the Methodist area, a few kilometers from Robert Sinyoka (Ward 17), where people are buying mealie-meal with Zanu-PF cards. The mealie-meal is even called, “impuphu ye Zanu.” [ZANU P.F Mealie meal]Those people who are known to belong to Zanu buy the mealie-meal for $200 million and they sell it to the community at exorbitant prices. There are three identified homesteads with people who have Zanu-PF cards and this is where the mealie-meal is sold from .
Meanwhile police in Bulawayo forced church leaders to cancel a weekly prayer meeting for the nation after alleging that the previous prayer meeting had occasioned inflammatory speeches likely to result in violence .The organizers of the meeting Churches in Bulawayo ,the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance and Bulawayo Intercessors Network were told to cancel the prayer meeting after a meeting with the police .