Villagers victimised after Tsvangirai tour

HARARE - The countrywide tour by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, pictured, has reignited victimisation of opposition activists in rural areas, a political pressure group has said.

Tsvangirai recently wrapped up a 29-day countrywide tour under which he met ordinary citizens. 

In the aftermath of the engagements, the Zimbabwe Yadzoka/Mayibuye iZimbabwe group says there have been “disturbing reports of threats and victimisation of villagers”.

“Victimisation of villagers for simply associating with a party of their choice is a blatant violation of the Zimbabwean Constitution,” it said.

MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu also confirmed that villagers were being terrorised after Tsvangirai’s tour.

“We are not at all surprised to learn that opposition activists in rural areas are now being targeted for persecution soon after Tsvangirai’s . . . countrywide meet-the-people tour,” he said, adding that “Zanu PF has always survived on terror, banditry, violence, intimidation and thuggery”.

“The ailing, bankrupt and fractured Zanu PF regime is extremely paranoid and insecure because they know they can never win a free and fair election, especially against Tsvangirai and the MDC that he leads.

“This is the main reason why the collapsing regime has literally ring-fenced most rural areas and made them protected villages of terror, violence and intimidation,” he said.

“However, our game plan is very effective as we have managed to penetrate all rural areas on a continuous programme of consulting our party structures and other opinion leaders such as traditional leaders, church leaders, students, small-scale miners and various other stakeholders.

“The MDC is surely on a roll and this has made the faction-infested and crumbling Zanu PF regime feel very insecure and threatened,” Gutu said.

Efforts to get comment from police spokesperson Charity Charamba were fruitless as her mobile phone went unanswered.

Zimbabwe Yadzoka/Mayibuye iZimbabwe also called on chiefs to stop meddling in politics.

“We implore traditional leaders to respect the country’s supreme law and refrain from meddling in politics,” it said.

The Constitution explicitly states under Section 281 (2) that traditional leaders must not participate in partisan politics.

“In a nutshell, traditional leaders have become more of an extension of the ruling party and are abusing their authority to fan violence and hatred against perceived and known opponents of the regime.”

The group said chiefs must support the interests of all Zimbabweans not to back one political party.

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