via Violence flares up in Hurungwe before polls – The Zimbabwean 10 June 2015
Ignatius Chombo, the minister of local government and Phillip Chiyangwa, a senior Zanu (PF) official, have been cited as the perpetrators of violence in Hurungwe west ahead of today’s by-election here.
The violence here has increased in the past two weeks as expelled Zanu (PF) member of parliament, Temba Mliswa battles it out with Zanu (PF) sponsored candidate Keith Guzha.
“In this week twelve victims of organized violence and torture sought medical assistance for injuries sustained in separate incidents. On 2 June 2015 five people were injured in separate incidents of politically motivated violence in Hurungwe West. Four of the victims were members of Temba Mliswa’s campaign teams who were assaulted at Sengwe business centre, at Point Four shops and at Chiroti Business Centre. The fifth victim was an MDC-T organizing secretary in the area who was assaulted by soldiers who are staying at a Zanu (PF) campaign base that has been set up at Chiroti Primary School in the constituency. He was accused of influencing MDC-T supporters in the area to vote for Temba Muliswa on June 10 2015. They presented with soft tissue injuries and one had a fracture in the fingure,” says a report prepared by a victim-support NGO.
On 30 May 2015 , four supporters of Mliswa were treated for various injuries after they had been attacked by Zanu (PF) militia in the constituency.
The victims reported that they had attended a ZEC coordinated voter education at Zvimhonja Business centre when their vehicle came under attack from ZANU PF supporters.
“The assailants used golf clubs, sticks, stones and bottles to assault them. One of the victims claimed that he lost US$ 4000 and a cell phone to the perpetrators. Temba Mliswa who witnessed this attack reported the incident at Magunje Police Station but unfortunately the police men in the charge office refused to record the case. The reason preferred was that the officer in charge was not available. Muliswa was instead arrested an hour later and charged with political violence, he was detained at Magunje police station,” says the report.
The NGO reports say 75 percent of victims of political violence treated at its clinics came from Hurungwe west.
“Senior ZANU-PF officials Ignatius Chombo and Philip Chiyangwa were cited as perpetrators of violence in this constituency. Communities have also reported a higher presence of members of the army and state agents in Hurungwe West and Headlands constituencies.,” says the report.
Three quarters (75%) of all new victims of OVT attended to in this week came from Hurungwe West constituency. It is not clear from the reports why political violence appear to be concerntrated in Hurungwe West. Senior ZANU-PF officials Ignatius Chombo and Philip Chiyangwa were cited as perpetrators of violence in this constituency. Communities have also reported a higher presence of members of the army and state agents in Hurungwe West and Headlands constituencies.
More than a third (37%) of all new victims of politically motivated violence who sought medical treatment since January 2015 are members of the MDC-T party. The share of victims with no known affiliation is high (61%) of all new incidents reported. This relatively higher figure is attributable to the incident reported from Chegutu district where a chief assaulted members of the community in a resettlement area and school pupils who were assaulted by war veterans in Chiredzi.
Sixteen of the people who have been attacked in acts of political violence in Hurungwe West have described themselves as supporters of an independent candidate and are no longer ZANU-PF these have also been recorded as victims without any known affiliation.
Issues raised during discussions held with community members from Buhera South included intimidation of victims of violence by their perpetrators. Politicisation of state funded food, such as maize grain supplied by the Grain Marketing Board (GMB).
The maize is sold according to lists compiled by traditional leaders and consequently all known MDC-T supporters are excluded. The people also noted that this systematic exclusion has been extended to cover even cement for water and sanitation programmes that is being provided by World Vision an International NGO. The same lists compiled by village heads are used to identify beneficiaries, opposition supporters do not have access to this form assistance as well. The other issues raised are shortage of medicines at public health institutions, poor road net work that is beyond repair and non availability of safe water sources.