AS the race for the Bikita West by election – due on Saturday – hots up, a group of suspected Zanu PF youths allegedly savagely attacked the opposition National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) candidate Madock Chivasa and his election agent, Thomas Mudzamiri on Tuesday.
Source: Zanu PF youths bash opposition candidate – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 18, 2017
BY TAPIWA ZIVIRA
Chivasa confirmed the assault which he said had been carried out by about 10 Zanu PF youths.
“They were travelling in an unmarked and unregistered Ford Everest (sports utility vehicle) SUV, and as we were about to leave Nyika Growth point, the youths laid an ambush.
“In the full view of the people at the growth point, the youths, who were armed with a gun, started assaulting us, leaving me with a broken arm and Mudzamiri sustained broken ribs,” Chivasa said.
Chivasa said they have since made a report at Bikita Police Station.
Police were not immediately available for comment.
Chivasa is set to face-off against Zanu PF’s Beauty Chabaya, Chivasa, Terence Makumbo of Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe (PDZ), independent candidate Innocent Muzvimbiri and former Bikita West legislator Mr Heya Shoko.
The seat fell vacant following the conviction of former Zanu PF lawmaker Munyaradzi Kereke of raping a minor for which he is serving a 10 year jail sentence.
Meanwhile, Heal Zimbabwe Trust has condemned the violence that has characterised the run up to the election.
“Heal Zimbabwe has recorded 57 human rights violations in Bikita West since 01 November 2016. These include assault, vote buying, partisan distribution of aid, forced attendance to rallies, destruction of campaign material, hate speech, disruption of rallies, and threats issued to voters/candidates,” the peace lobby group said in a statement.
“The organisation condemns in the strongest terms the violations as they compromise the outcome of the by election. An upsurge in cases of human rights violations, also compromise the electoral playing field and casts doubt and uncertainty over the holding of free, fair and peaceful elections in Zimbabwe.”
The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) also condemned the unprovoked assault.
“The calculated act of political violence by an organised hit squad wearing the ruling party Zanu-PF regalia is a slap in the face of the constitutional requirement for free, fair and credible elections,” the rights group said.
ZimRights said the brutal assault was carried out by about 13 people wearing Zanu PF regalia at Nyika in the dead of night. A statement by the group identified the car as “belonging to (Zanu PF) Marondera legislator, Lawrence Katsiru.”.
“They hit me with the back of a pistol on the head and I fell down, breaking my arm. The assailants clearly asked me who I thought I was to oppose Zanu PF. I am on my way to Silveira Hospital to get treatment.
“We reported the matter at Nyika Growth Point last night, but there was a single police officer who said he could not handle political cases and only promised to inform his superior who was absent from the station. We have since notified a person only identified as Mashavave who is a senior ZEC official in Bikita,” ZimRights quoted Chivasa as having said.
Gun shots were also reportedly fired in the ensuing melee.
Opposition parties have for years accused Zanu PF of using foul means to win election and the upsurge in violence ahead of the snap poll will not surprise observers amid calls for a level playing field ahead of a general election set for next year.