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Home | ZimCrisis#48 -- Analysis of Violence and Intimidation over the First Two Weeks of June

Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2000 11:58:48 -0700
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From: Zimbabwe Crisis
Subject: ZimCrisis#48 -- Analysis of Violence and Intimidation over the First Two Weeks of June
Cc: "Australian government":;, "British government":;,
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"US government":;, Commonwealth:;, "NG organisations":;, Press:;

Hi everyone,

The report below comes from the MDC.


- Burning or destruction of ID documents
- Destruction of homes and property MDC supporters
- Beatings, rape
- People being dragged off buses
- Farmers forced to attend war vet and ZanuPF meetings
- Slow deployment of observers into areas
- Third force activity
- Nationalisation of assets
- Moving the goal posts in terms of electoral laws and rules

Where will war vets vote? Which constituency will be allocated to soldiers serving in Democratic Republic of Congo? Will prisoners be allowed to vote?

15 June 2000

A number of disturbing trends are becoming apparent ahead of the election. MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai said, "we have information that ZanuPF is going to target 30 constituencies to burn and destroy documents, to burn peoples homes and to generally attempt to intimidate voters ahead of the election. We don't believe these strategies will deter all people from voting. However, the burning of identity documents makes it impossible for people to vote.

"And too, we have President Mugabe saying that he will nationalise mines. He has no constitutional right to seize anything - by making these statements he is creating irreparable harm to the country. Who wants to invest in a country where property rights are uncertain? He has threatened farm property, he is now threatening the mines - where will it end? Is he nationalising the entire economy?" Tsvangirai asked.

A climate has been created by ZanuPF in which lives and the economy have become expendable.

The Electoral Act has been changed twice in the past two weeks; the first change necessitated the accreditation of election observers and polling agents. It further delayed the deployment of election observers to the field. By today, Thursday, 15 June, some observers were being deployed for the first time; opposition political parties were still scrambling to get sufficient details from polling agents to get them accredited. The MDC began training polling agents a fortnight ago; the ongoing changes to the Electoral Act have meant those first trained are already out of date with the law and its changes.

Specific intimidation around voting is occurring. As examples: 12 June: Farm workers are now being given detailed instructions by so-called war veterans on polling day procedures. They are being told that farmers must provide lorries or tractors and trailers to take people to the polling stations, they will be under the direction of a "commander" and will be accompanied to the door of the polling station.

It will be interesting to see how and where war veterans vote as they are occupying farms and homesteads in areas they do not come from.

* In Chegutu, ZanuPF candidate Charles Ndlovu has been picking up illegal immigrants in the area - Mozambicans, Malawians and the ilk - and taking them to get rapid Zimbabwean Identity documents and to be placed on the supplementary roll. There was a group with Ndlovu busy doing this on Monday night at 8.30pm when police arrived following a complaint from MDC candidate, Phil Mathibe (091.319.458) and chased them away. 14.6.2000

Identification documents have been burnt, and this seems to be escalating. There were reports in today's Daily News of identification documents being destroyed in some areas. MDC first began documenting this on June 5:

* MDC Mutasa candidate, Eve Masaiti fled her home in the Honde Valley during violent attacks on Monday and slept overnight in the bush. She was rescued later by MDC supporters. More than 50 people are now homeless and have no food or clothes. During attacks the identification documents of those attacked were seized and burnt preventing them from voting in the elections on June 24 and June 25. The candidate is assessing damage with a Commonwealth team in the area. (telephone Eve Masaiti 023689603 or 091-220541 or 091-211553)

The second change to Electoral legislation came yesterday, when the selection of 10 chiefs (of the 30 the President of Zimbabwe may handpick according to existing law) was delayed until June 29 - after the election. The MDC believes this delay is to ensure that chiefs who are prevaricating about voting either MDC or ZanuPF will swing their loyalty to ZanuPF in the hopes of getting a parliamentary position. Last weekend, as an example, MDC reported the following:

* Chief Moses Chiondegwa and his son, SD Makore Chiondegwa, a ZanuPF education officer summoned headmen to Befura Shopping Centre, Madamomde at 10am (about 70km south of Gweru on the Beitbridge road) and told them that if they do not vote ZanuPF then government will withdraw all titles from them, as well as land and confiscate their cattle, and they will be castigated as "sellouts." EU observer in the area Annemarike Steeman was informed of the meeting ahead of time (011805879) (MDC: Bernard Chiondegwa 0352396)(11 June)

Movement for Democratic Change president, Morgan Tsvangirai says, "there is a secret group conducting the violence under the command of ZanuPF's president Robert Mugabe, it is a select group or third force comprised of war veterans, members of the army, air force and units of the police including CIO. It reveals itself in distinct patterns of behaviour." As an example, last week the rape of 9 women were reported to MDC offices, they were particularly cruel.

* In the Mutaga area there have been nine reports of women being raped by so-called war veterans supporting Zanu-PF. In one instance the wife of a senior MDC official was attacked in her bedroom by seven men claiming to be Zanu-PF supporters to "punish her for selling MDC cards."She was held down at each arm and each leg by four men, a fifth man sat on her neck and pummelled her while they took turns beating her and her husband claims she was raped. They beat her so severely that she can barely walk and her skin is navy with bruises. Sekai Holland, the MDC candidate for the area said: "the woman now walks around telling people she is no longer a person." (5 June)

There have been growing numbers of displacees - an estimated 10 000 people have fled their homes, or had them burnt, or are in hiding fearing attacks because they have dared to exercise their democratic choice to support the MDC or a party other than the ruling party. Hundreds of people live in forests, or with relatives in urban areas and rural villages, they move from room to room, house to house with only the clothes on their backs or those of their children.

* June 8, 8am, the homesteads and granaries of Emanuel Munyanana and Gokwe Nemangwe were razed to the ground at Matanga.

* June 8: Four MDC officials sit at a table, absolutely numbed, their clothes smart but creased - their homes were burnt down at the weekend. ZanuPF began calling for an end to the beatings and violence but their supporters and war veterans - who have in instances also begun beating ZanuPF officials - have not yet heard them. Or perhaps this is a situation ZanuPF can no longer control, without asking for the forces of law and order to perform their duty, which they are loathe to do.

There have been numerous abductions - and disappearances with some people still missing. People have been abducted off the street, dragged off buses, taken from their homes or workplaces:

* Three MDC supporters were abducted. A student nurse at Marondera hospital, Thomas Bhiri (28) is in Marondera hospital after being dragged from a lecture room at the hospital and placed in a municipal vehicle, according to eyewitnesses. When a hospital guard tried to stop the abductors he too was beaten up. Bhiri says he was taken to ZanuPF headquarters where a cloth was tied around his face and he was beaten with iron bars and sticks. He sustained a broken leg and extensive lacerations. He is at present in Marondera Hospital.

* Eyewitnesses saw Farai Mutendeudzwa (30), abducted yesterday from Marondera saw mills by unidentified people.

* Wellington Taruvinga was yesterday abducted from his workplace. MAPCO, in Marondera, he was taken to the provincial headquarters of ZanuPF in Marondera where he too had his face covered and was beaten. He lost some teeth and sustained lacerations and bruising.

*** Candidate Didymus Munhenzva said he was now "too frightened to return to the area in case I too, get beaten up or killed." (8 June)

The MDC has adopted an open strategy of informing people about rallies and meetings - which has led to ZanuPF using this openness to harass candidates and their officers, and to disrupt meetings, tear down posters and attack members.

* MDC candidate, Richard Chadya, Hungwe East (091.367.023) said he was being severely restricted from campaigning in an areas that had seen killings and severe intimidation. "Our strategy is door to door campaigning. If we call people to bigger meetings they fear that they will get attacked." Nonetheless, he said MDC support was strong in his constituency. (8.6.2000)

* Mfanaidza Hove of Mberengwa West Constituency (011-803-453) gave examples of intimidation in his area recently. "Mr R Gambiza, the constituency co-ordinating committee: deputy chairman of Zibwi was abducted and beaten up, he has now fled to Bulawayo. He was responsible for organising meetings, rallies in four area - Zimbwa, Rengwe, Vutika, Mupandashango, Mawari and Mnene with an estimated population of 12 000 people - approximately 40% of whom are registered voters. Mr O Siwela and Mr T Moyo, both youth wing members were also abducted and assaulted. Teachers at Chegato Secondary School, Mnene Secondary school, Maringambizi Secondary School and others have been abducted and assaulted. The school library at Maringabizi was also burnt down.

* "Ms T Shumba of Zibwi, a women's wing activist and Lenny Sibanda a youth activist have also fled their homes. The homes have been burnt down of Mr Bodo (Chief Mazivofa's right hand man) has now fled to Zvishavana, and that of Mr P Chakarisa, a teacher at Rusvinge school. In Mberengwa East there have been more brutal assaults, shops destroyed, houses burnt down and a lot of people have fled their homes ." (8.6.2000)

* At Chinhoyi ZanuPF have been tearing down posters put up by MDC.

* At Wedza -where the MDC candidate has fled following threats by a general in the army - posters have been torn down, two men have been abducted and not seen since - Steven Kanengoni and another known only as Herbert. Polling agents were beaten during training at Shanganayi Shopping Centre and a hotel at Nhekairo Shopping Centre was destroyed, doors pulled off their hinges, guests chased outside and beaten because it was - erroneously - believed that MDC supporters were having a meeting inside. 14.6.200

* At Derbyshire Stone Quarry, Waterfalls, ZanuPF put up posters - the workers tore them down. They returned and beat up the owner Brian Zamudio and his son, even though they had nothing to do with the incident and are not political. 15.6.2000

The MDC is operating its campaign on a shoestring budget, nearly all its workers and candidates are working without pay, and have been for months. Despite huge difficulties in campaigning, and the fact that many have been beaten, tortured, had their homes destroyed, their wives raped or been forced out of their constituencies 120 candidates have stood firm. They are risking everything for a chance at democratic change.

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