Wednesday, May 14, 2008

(HERALD) Anti-violence drive intensifies

Anti-violence drive intensifies
Herald Reporters

Efforts to curb violence have intensified with police in Masvingo dismantling "political bases" set up by some parties in the province while the Zanu-PF leadership in Mashonaland East and Central provinces has urged ruling party supporters to shun violence.

Masvingo police dismantled bases that had mushroomed in some districts in the province after engaging the parties involved. It is believed the bases were being used to perpetrate violence. Officer Commanding Masvingo Province, Assistant Commissioner Mike Tanyanyiwa, confirmed the development yesterday.

"All bases that were in the province were dismantled. There are no more bases. We talked to all the parties involved," he said. He said the bases were in Bikita and Gutu while the rest of the province had none.

Asst Comm Tanyanyiwa, who said peace and tranquillity were prevailing in Masvingo at the moment, was quick to indicate that the province always recorded a higher rate of murder cases than any in the country which were not politically linked.

Asst Comm Tanyanyiwa dismissed a report carried in the private media over the weekend claiming that Zanu-PF supporters attacked and killed an MDC activist, Zvidzai Mapurisa, in the Gunikuni area in Masvingo South.

He said the alleged MDC activist was, in fact, a Zanu-PF supporter who died following a fight with fellow ruling party supporters over a misunderstanding.

Asst Comm Tanyanyiwa said he was not aware that Mapurisa’s relatives were refusing to bury him.

"What I know is that his body was taken to Bulawayo for a post-mortem and relatives were waiting for the release of the body," he said.

Asst Comm Tanyanyiwa said Mapurisa’s assailants had since been arrested and were facing murder charges.

Meanwhile, Zanu-PF chairperson of the information and publicity sub-committee in Mashonaland Central Province Cde Tazvitya Mapfumo has warned Zimbabweans to be wary of MDC-T and its Western masters who were creating an excuse for foreign intervention through stage-managing and perpetrating violence in the country.

In a statement yesterday, Cde Mapfumo said the Zanu-PF leadership in the province condemned all acts of violence, arson, malicious injury to property and any form of harassment. He said reports of violence in Mashonaland Central emanating from the opposition and foreign Press, coupled with the surge in politically-motivated crimes, should be viewed in the context of MDC-T’s desperate efforts.

Cde Mapfumo said Mashonaland Central, as the vanguard of the ruling party, was particularly attractive to the opposition’s scheme of building a crescendo of a crisis in order to create an avenue for Western powers masquerading as the United Nations or the international community.

"Most of the incidents of violence in our province haveoccurred in Zanu-PF strongholds in which our supporters and sympathisers are the victims.

"There is a nexus between the itinerant globe-trotting by the opposition leaders to paint the picture of a crisis in Zimbabwe and contrived acts of violence in our province," he said.

He said people should recall the numerous stillborn attempts by the opposition and its Western sponsors to bring Zimbabwe before the UN Security Council.

Cde Mapfumo said the opposition leaders should take a cue from President Mugabe in publicly appealing for a peaceful campaign especially now that Zimbabwe was heading for a presidential run-off.

In Mashonaland East, party provincial information secretary Cde Kenneth Mutiwekuziva said it was time Zimbabweans learnt to tolerate political differences and let their votes determine the country’s political future.

He was speaking at a ceremony to hand over money and food to small-scale farmers and miners in Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe.

"We, as Zimbabweans, are brothers and sisters. We should bury our differences and focus on national development, as it is the only way we can emancipate ourselves.

"In Mashonaland East, many cases of political violence have been reported, which include kidnappings of war veterans, torching of houses and torturing people for wearing their party’s regalia. We urge our people to desist from such activities.

"In Mudzi North, we lost one ex-combatant who was kidnapped by suspected MDC-T youths; in Macheke, houses were burnt; and in Uzumba at Chiweso village, two houses were burnt by suspected MDC-T supporters," he said.

He said people in the village were now living in fear.

"You should bear in mind that Zimbabwe is the only country in Africa that has tasted real independence. Some of these countries are enjoying cosmetic independence because the people do not control their resources.

"Perhaps that is the reason why we are hated by the West because very soon we are going to develop our own vibrant industry and stop importing products," he said.

Cde Mutiwekuziva said Government had empowered Zimbabweans through programmes such as farm mechanisation.

He paid tribute to Bangladesh businessman Mr Iqbal Kabir Bhuyain, who donated a wheelchair, maputi (popcorn) gun making machine and food.

The donations were made in Maramba, Mawadza and Chiunze wards.

Mr Bhuyain said his wish was to help the sick, the old and the disabled in the community as well as help assist youth to start irrigation farming and small-scale mining.

"We have invited experts from Bangladesh who will work with communities, showing them how to run their small businesses.

"Last year our country won a Nobel Prize for micro-finance projects and we would like to share our experiences with our Zimbabwean counterparts," he said.

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