Jerera villagers fear repeat of murders if Zanu PF loses

ZAKA – “I still have strong memories of this day, June 3, 2008, when I woke up early in the morning from my village to Jerera Growth point to book a better place on the mealie meal queue,” recalls Mbuya Getrude Gweme, 68.

“On approaching the shops around 6am I saw people milling around one of the growth point’s buildings and I rushed to get a glimpse of what had happened, only to see the shock of my life, a charred dead body lying outside after political violence. We now wonder if the same situation will happen to us if Zanu PF loses elections,”

The memories of June 3, 2008, are still fresh and linger in the brains and hearts of scores of Jerera villagers.

They fear a repeat of heinous political murders if Zanu PF is trounced again in the coming make-or-break general polls slated for July 31.

A recent visit to the political hotbed district revealed that the ghost of 2008 is still haunting villagers.

Many are fearful of going to the ballot freely to chose their preferred parties and candidates, despite a relative peace in the run up to the elections.

Memory Pedzerai, a survivor of the June 3 arson attack, who was bundled into an unregistered Mitsubishi single cab truck that the gunmen were using on the fateful day and later dumped in a bush several kilometres from the growth point, said she was even scared to go to the polling station.

“As a survivor who has a first hand account of what happened on June 3 murders, I don’t think I will be able to go to the polling station,” she told the Daily News.

“I am scared that if I cast my vote for the political party I prefer, lots of people will lose their lives again.”

Although the campaign period is generally violence free, villagers say it is the memories of the 2008 political violence are still haunting them.

The situation, they said, is in a way making the elections not free and fair.

Clemence Chikovo of Chandipwisa Village in Ward 28 under chief Bota said the fear is still gripping many villagers. He said MDC supporters were fearful of wearing party regalia given to them.

“The memories are still fresh in our minds,” Chikovo said.

He feared that because of the fear, many villagers could be forced to vote for a party which they do not like fearing repercussions.

In June 2008, a wave of political violence hit Zaka, displacing several thousands of people and left many dead.

But it was on June 3 when thousands were left shell shocked and frightened  after men in anti-riot gear invaded an MDC district office at Jerera where displaced villagers had taken sanctuary.

Armed to the teeth with AK47 and FN assault riffles, the men broke into the office in the wee hours of the day as displaced supporters were in deep sleep.

The men ordered them to continue sleeping before sprinkling petrol on top of their blankets, bolting the door and setting them ablaze, killing two party activists, Crison Mbano and Washington Nyamwe.

Eight survived with serious burns that left three of them, Edison Gwenure, Kudakwashe Tsumele and Isaac Mbanje with deformed faces, hands and feet.

It is events of this day that has washed away any enthusiasm ahead of this poll.

“There is actually nothing exciting about this year elections although they are critical,” said Borand Mataruse from Makwevera Village in Ward 21.

Festus Dumbu, outgoing MDC legislator for Zaka West, who is seeking re-election, said his party was working flat out to flush out fear from villagers and convince them to vote for MDC.

“We know that some of our supporters and villagers have that fear, but we are telling them that there should not be afraid as nothing will happen to them if MDC wins elections and Zanu PF becomes history,” Dumbu said.

“We are actually calling on them to vote for us to appease the blood that was shed by Zanu PF in 2008. We need to honour our lost heroes who died by fulfilling their dreams of a new Zimbabwe, hence MDC should be voted for by the same villagers.”

MDC is preaching to villagers that the world is watching Zimbabwe, adding the regional bloc Sadc that facilitated the formation of the coalition government will be closely monitoring every development in this election.

“We are urging supporters to go into their numbers to vote for MDC candidates including myself and our president Tsvangirai without fear,” Dumbu said.

“This time we are going to rule the country and nothing will happen.”

But for Mbuya Gweme, the memories of the 2008 have been too difficult to rub off and will affect how she votes on July 31.

Comments (6)

pliz MDC-T we really support you but this is touching especially with days toward elections. yes international community is there but your protection is needed. our vote is yours from the past now and for ever. Zanu is gone

Madzivire Village Resident - 23 July 2013

I will revenge if zanupf loses coz they kill my brother.i want big chitoro to pay what he did to my family. I also need to deal with chinotimba again

chawada leo - 23 July 2013

haikona kuda kuurayisa vanhu iwe tsvangirayi. vakafa vacho makavamutsa here and what are you doing to their families.

jojo - 23 July 2013

Vada, your comment is both irrelevant and subversive. What are trying to achieve?? We all know that you can not do much in a wrong political environment. You are a ZANU(PF) strategist. Under your party, people lost their life savings. So shut up.

African Warrior - 23 July 2013

Vada, your comment is both irrelevant and subversive. What are trying to achieve?? We all know that you can not do much in a wrong political environment. You are a ZANU(PF) strategist. Under your party, people lost their life savings. So shut up.

African Warrior - 23 July 2013

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.