Political harassment and intimidation reported in Binga and Nyanga

Cases of political intimidation and harassment which involve Zanu-pf militias, soldiers, and traditional leaders against villagers in various parts of the country, continue to be reported as Zimbabwe approaches harmonized elections in 2013. The latest cases have been recorded in the remote areas of Nyanga and Binga, which might point to the possibility of electoral violence during Zimbabwe's next general elections.

People from Chungu and Lusulu areas in Binga North under chiefs, Simupa, Sinakatenge and Sinamusanga, have reportedly come under siege from the three traditional leaders who have been enlisted by ZANU-PF to work with its coercive party activists to force villagers to attend ZANU-PF political meetings. Villagers who fail to attend the meetings are allegedly being overtly threatened with having their limbs cut off by the Zanu-pf militias.

Those who spoke to the Crisis Report said this was a reminder of the infamous "short and long sleeve € campaign whereby many people had their arms and or legs cut off during the violent June 2008 presidential election run-off by Zanu-pf militias across the country. It is also reported that villagers are allegedly forced  to pay a cash fine to the tune of US$40 by the traditional leaders for failing to attend ZANU PF meetings.

Councilor Temba Toonse Kunjulu from Jabuba Ward in Binga is reported to have identified ZANU PF activist, Kenias Charuma, and a former intelligence agent, Isaac Ndebele, as part of the militia intimidating people in Binga North for not attending ZANU PF meetings in the area.

MDC-T Organising Secretary for Binga District, Garisa Moyo, spoke to the Crisis Report on Monday 26th November 2012, and reported that:

"Councilors are being threatened with having their arms cut off, for not attending meetings organized by ZANU PF activists. The big challenge is that the police are now involved in these activities. €

Mr. Moyo furthermore revealed that villagers are also being forced by the chiefs to pay a fine in cash for failing to attend these meetings. An MDC-T supporter, one Omi, is one of the victims that Moyo cited who was recently fined US$40 by Chief Sinakatenge, for failing to attend a ZANU PF meeting which the traditional leader addressed. Kariba District where Mr. Moyo is District Organising Secretary for the MDC-T led by Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, is on the border with Binga North.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday 20th November 2012, war veterans leader, Jabulani Sibanda, whom villagers in Nyanga North are living in trepidation of since his arrival around the 16th November 2012 held a meeting at Ruwanga Growth Point in Nyanga.

The War Veterans leader is said to have misinformed villagers that the constitution making process has been stalled by MDC-T leader and Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, who he falsely claims has been insisting on inclusion of homosexuality in the new Charter.

On Wednesday 21st November 2012, Jabulani Sibanda is said to have, amid threats of violence to MDC supporters, distributed maize seed emblazoned with President Robert Mugabe's image under the controversial and partisan Presidential Agricultural Inputs Scheme. The scheme was launched by President Robert Mugabe at the Zanu-pf headquarters in Harare earlier in November 2012, amid allegations that the scheme is part of a grand vote-buying strategy which is  being funded by money diverted from Marange diamond proceeds.

Spokesperson for MDC Nyanga North Constituency, Sekai Gombe, confirmed to the Crisis Report Team that:

"Jabulani threatened all opposition parties stating that Zanu PF is going to carry out a disciplinary process particularly to individuals who did not vote for President Robert Mugabe in the March 29. 2008 harmonised elections. Sibanda promised inputs for Zanu PF supporters only. €

Gombe informed that the inputs were distributed to Zanu-pf supporters only a day after the meeting at Ruwanga Growth Point, amid more promises of fertilizer. The inputs included 10kg cotton seed bags and 10kg Shumba variety maize seed, and they had stickers with President Robert Mugabe's image.

"However, some of the Zanu PF supporters were disgruntled, saying the party was giving them worthless inputs which are not suitable for Nyanga region, € said Gombe.

One of the Zanu-pf supporters, Denius Tembo, who castigated his party is said to have been retributively assaulted that  same afternoon by the Zanu PF youth chairperson for Nyanga North Ward 4, Isaiah Tembo, and an Officer, John Katerere, and other Zanu-pf youths. Denius got injured on his left leg and allegedly lost a cell phone and some money in the process according to Gombe.

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