Mvurwi CEO bars peace-building campaign

HARARE - The Mvurwi Municipality has barred a peace-building initiative by the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic).

Mvurwi chief executive officer Shepherd Mazai allegedly barred youths from all the governing political parties from jointly cleaning up the town.

The peace-building programme bankrolled by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)  was organised by the Jomic regional youth desk.

Mazai however, denies scuttling the clean-up campaign in Mashonaland West — a flashpoint of violence in the 2008 elections.  

“I did not bar anyone from cleaning up the area, we are actually in the dark as to what happened to the programme,” said Mazai.

However, regional youth coordinators Varaidzo Mupunga of President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF, Costa Machingauta of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC and Kudakwashe Munengiwa of Welshman Ncube’s MDC told the Daily News they had been barred by council officials.

“The youths across the political divide were gathered, ready to clean up the environment to jointly preach peaceful co-existence to the community but that was not to be thanks to public officials who are willing tools of abuse by politicians who are allergic to peaceful co-existence,” said a joint statement issued by the Jomic regional youth desk.

“It is worrisome because the province was characterised by political violence in 2008.” Meanwhile, Jomic co-national co-ordinator Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga last week highlighted cases of escalating political violence in Matabeleland.

Misihairabwi-Mushonga, who is also the smaller MDC secretary general called on Jomic to speedily intervene in Insiza North where suspected Zanu PF activists Denford Bathakathi, Walter Bathakathi and Majoni Ndlovu allegedly threatened ward 21 councillor Nqaba Khumalo with death.

She also alleged harassment and intimidation by the police.

In a June 9, 2013 letter to Jomic co-chairpersons Nicholas Goche, Elton Mangoma and the youth desk, she said the intimidation and violence activities seem to be well-organised across the constituency and they are being perpetrated by known members of Zanu PF.

“The following are some of the key incidences that need your urgent attention. The letter says on June 9, her party’s recruitment team in Insiza North was blocked from doing door-to-door campaigns by members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police who reportedly told them to get police clearance for the campaign.

“This is not even a legal requirement of the Public Order and Security Act,” Misihairabwi-Mushonga’s letter says. “We view this as an attempt by the police to disturb our campaigns and intimidate our party officials.”

The letter also reports on a May 25 incident in which Zanu PF activists in Pioneer Estate near Greystone in Insiza North led by councillor MaMpofu went on a rampage demanding that MDC supporters should handover party cards and national identification documents.

“They were further threatened with eviction after being forced to attend Zanu PF meetings,” the letter says.

Jomic communications manager Joram Nyathi said he was still waiting for official communication from both the national co-chairpersons and the youth desk to give an informed comment. - Mugove Tafirenyika

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