Habakkuk news watch 7-9/5
Violence persists ahead of the expected run-off, with churches and pastors being targeted. Churches and pastors are housing victims of political violence and this has made them to be political targets. The date for the runoff has not yet been announced, however, there are reports that it might not take place after 21 days as provided for by the constitution.
Masvingo- Sources on the ground in the Masvingo area have informed Habakkuk that violence in Masvingo is persisting with war veterans allegedly being the perpetrators. Habakkuk managed to interview some of the victims who had fled from their homes to seek shelter in the urban areas.
One of the victims revealed that war veterans arrived at his homestead where he resides with his 80-year-old mother and told them that they wanted to teach them how to vote and began beating them. The victim, who was a polling agent for MDC-T revealed that among the perpetrators, was the chief of that area (name supplied). He has since fled from his house and has been sleeping in the mountains for the past two weeks.
In another interview, it was revealed that war veterans arrived at one of the homesteads, where there was a one-and-a-half year old baby, they lifted the child by the leg and said, “Is this a Zanu pf baby or an MDC baby?” They proceeded to return the baby to his mother. The war veterans then burnt the mother with a cigarette on her right hand. After they had threatened them, they left their homestead. The family then fled to the mountains and later proceeded to the city.
Mberengwa West- Sources on the ground also revealed that police visited some churches in Mberengwa West, where they told the pastors to stop keeping people in the church, saying by so doing, the church was creating “camps”.
Two houses in the same area, which were housing victims of political violence, were raided. The house belonged to pastors. They were taken to the charge offices. There were some people among them who were hurt and these people were taken to the police station. The victims have not received medical attention and their health is deteriorating. “Safe houses” were also raided for allegedly harboring “political activists”.
Bulawayo- Habakkuk also got in touch with some local pastors who confirmed that churches had surely become targets. The pastor however revealed that as pastors, they had made it clear to the people that the church is a house of God and the church doors are open to anyone seeking shelter.
The pastors said there was a need to bolden the congregations in smaller towns so that they do not become overwhelmed by the situation.
Inyathi- The pastors also revealed that in Nyathi, Naledi, a church has been closed down by war veterans.
Gwanda-A pastor in Gwanda from West Nicholson farm was attacked by war veterans on Wednesday. It is alleged that the perpetrators arrived at his home and ordered him to recite a slogan. He refused to do so, stating that his job does not allow him to recite any slogan. They attacked him and beat him . He has since received medical attention and is recuperating at home.