Thursday, May 15, 2008

(HERALD) Poll violence: UN blames MDC, Zanu-PF

Poll violence: UN blames MDC, Zanu-PF
Herald Reporter

THE United Nations Country Team in Zimbabwe has said reports of violence it is receiving show that both Zanu-PF and MDC-T supporters were involved in the skirmishes but commended Government efforts to curb the violence. This comes amid reports that at least 27 suspected MDC-T supporters were arrested in Karoi on Sunday for allegedly stoning a Zanu-PF information centre and assaulting its supporters who were on a campaign exercise.

Political violence has erupted in some parts of Zimbabwe after the March 29 joint presidential, parliamentary and council elections. Speaking at a media briefing on the post-election humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe yesterday, UN Resident Representative Dr Agostinho Zacharias said it was the primary responsibility of the Government to provide protection and effective remedies to its citizens.

"We welcome reports that the authorities are intensifying the anti-violence campaign, we encourage them to continue to do so and ensure that violence is totally removed in all parts of the country," he said.

Dr Zacharias expressed concern at the level of violence, reports of threats, intimidation, abuse and violence while there was an emerging pattern of political violence "inflicted mainly, but not exclusively, on rural supporters of the opposition MDC party".

"However, there are also reports indicating that MDC supporters are also resorting to violence and intimidation. This state of affairs is unacceptable to the UNCT," he said.

He said his office had received increasing reports and requests for humanitarian assistance to people that have been affected by violence, purportedly instituted by some supporters of both Zanu-PF and MDC-T that had been deployed around the country.

"These incidences of violence are occurring in the communal, farming and urban areas and there are indications that the level of violence is escalating in all these areas," he said.

Dr Zacharias said UNCT was concerned about the number of internally displaced people that have fled their homes for fear of reprisals by party activists, without food, shelter and other basic social services, which could lead to unprecedented humanitarian needs in the country.

He said contrary to reports, especially from MDC-T, that Zanu-PF and State agents had killed more than 20 of its supporters, the UN had received unconfirmed reports of two deaths due to the violence.

Efforts to curb violence have intensified with police in Masvingo ordering parties that had established "political bases" from where they were allegedly launching violent attacks to dismantle them while the Zanu-PF leadership in Mashonaland Central and East provinces has urged ruling party supporters to shun violence.

Those arrested were Henwell Kadoonda (40), Collen Chigwededza (26), CosmasChivhengeya (33), Thomas Nziramasanga (20), Night Kanyurira (28), Conference Kanyurira (30), Loveloss Kanyurira (65), Chance Muzoya (28), Amos Gondongwe (21), Washington Bhambuza Mabiri (45), Divas Nziramasanga (28), Clever Mupandagwara (22), Joseph Dinhika (30), Cleopas Mupandagwara (28), Cosmas Chivhengeya (22), Renius Kadoonda (26), Fanuel Kadoonda (31), Julius Mhlekete (24), Denmark Nhemura (age not given), Shadreck Luswani (33), Goodman Matenga (36), Farai Taruvinga (28), Anorld Madzura (37), Collen Chigwededza (22), Amos Gondongwe (22), Darlington Nziramasanga (29) and Godwin Mushawemhuka Muzombi (21).

In the first incident, the suspects allegedly met Zanu-PF supporters at Sengwe Business Centre in Magunje, carrying out a campaign on May 9 and confronted them.

They allegedly started beating the ruling party members and disappeared before they later went to Cde Fanny Chindumure, the Zanu-PF Karamabazungu District vice chairperson in Chikopota Village under Chief Nyamhunga and set his house on fire.

No one was injured in the attack but property that included five bags of shelled grain, six blankets a double bed and clothes worth about $15 billion were destroyed.

The suspects fled the scene before regrouping the following day at around 4am and went to the Zanu-PF information centre at Sengwe Business Centre where they damaged the building and broke windows.

They left before coming back at around 4pm the same day and started beating up 35 Zanu-PF supporters at the centre.

During the attack Albert Hamamiti sustained serious head and leg injuries and was rushed to Karoi General Hospital.

The 23 are expected to appear in court today.

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