JOC Blocks Gutu Residents' Demo

By Johannes Chin’ombe

Gutu, September 15, 2016 – A Gutu residents group says it has been subjected to threats by the country’s security establishments for planning a demonstration against continued politicisation of food aid by Zanu PF in rural Gutu.

This follows anti-Mugabe protests which have penetrated parts of rural Masvingo in the recent past.

The Gutu United Residents and Ratepayers Association (GURRA) coordinator, Lloyd Mupfudze told Radio VOP they have been denied permission to stage their own demonstration by the Joint Operations Command (JOC).

“As GURRA, we notified the police of our intention to demonstrate and present a petition to Gutu District Administrator, Roy Hove on 16 September 2016,” he said.

“The police is yet to respond but they have since invited us to a meeting saying they have questions to ask. I went there with Russel Mudoro and Langton Guvava and surprisingly, we were introduced to people referred to as JOC who threatened us against the holding our demonstration.”

JOC is the supreme organ for the coordination of state security in Zimbabwe.

It was established by the Rhodesian Security Forces to supervise its counter-insurgency campaign in the Rhodesian Bush War as well as external incursions into neighbouring countries such as Zambia and Mozambique.

The JOC retained its role in the post-independence Zimbabwe Defence Forces and has been accused of manipulating elections and orchestrating political violence.

Mupfudze said they were saddened by the police action.

“Our demonstration is meant to demystify politicisation of food. There are many scenarios here where the elderly are starving but failing to access food simply because they are not Zanu PF.

“Undeserving elements as youth officers are actually looting food intended for orphans and the elderly. An example is Cleopas Maungwa of Ward 22. He now does food for work despite his age because he can’t access free food,” Mupfudze said.

Meanwhile, Zaka village head, Fidelis Gwanya, under Chief Bota, was recently caught in a typical “Sabhuku Vharazipi” corruption after he allegedly drafted four of his children’s names on list of food aid beneficiaries.

The food handouts were sponsored by CARE International.

Politicisation of food aid by Zanu PF has also worsened food shortages in drought stricken Masvingo as beneficiaries are chosen on partisan grounds.