Political violence flares up in Mutoko

HARARE - Political violence has flared up again in Mutoko, a volatile Zanu PF stronghold.

A mainstream MDC official in the area is now destitute after suspected Zanu PF activists petrol-bombed his homestead on Saturday, in signs that tensions are escalating ahead of elections to be held no later than June next year.

David Chamanga Chihwayi, the MDC organising secretary for ward 17 in Mutoko East, said the assailants were led by a well-known local Zanu PF activist nicknamed Gogo.

Chihwayi said he lost 300kg of maize, all his clothes, including school uniforms for his two children, food stuffs and $300 which he kept in his bedroom.

He said he was sleeping when he was awakened by an unusual sound and upon investigating, discovered his grass-thatched kitchen was on fire.

When he went out to alert his neighbours he heard a bursting gun-like sound followed by ball of fire on his asbestos-roofed bedroom.

His son was sleeping in the bedroom and escaped.

“I was sleeping with my son at around 12 midnight as my wife had attended a funeral in the village — when I heard a bursting sound outside.

“When I checked I saw light but I thought it was a car approaching our village so I woke up to investigate only to discover my kitchen was on fire.

“I rushed out to alert my neighbour but just as I got out there was another gun-like sound which was followed by fire on my bedroom.

“We failed to put out the fire and all my grain, foodstuffs, clothes and money were destroyed,” narrated Chihwayi, adding he was lucky to be alive.

He said he suspected Zanu PF was behind the attack.

“I know it is Zanu PF because their district chairperson had told me I was not going to survive the next day and that he was going to burn my garden.

“He said my crime is that I had demanded my two goats they forcibly took in 2008. I have made a report to the police but they told me to bring him (Gogo) to the station,” said Chihwayi.

MDC chairperson for Mashonaland East Province Piniel Denga said the police inaction confirmed the selective application of the law.

“The family is stranded as we speak and we have reported the matter to Nyamakosi Police Station.

“However, they have told the victim to bring the suspect to the station.

“It is really ridiculous, but we are also writing a formal complaint to Joint Monitoring and implementation Committee (Jomic).

“We will then take it from there,” said Denga.

Mashonaland East police spokesperson inspector Bulisani Bhebe could not be reached for confirmation as calls to his phone were not going through. -  Mugove Tafirenyika

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