By Mlondolozi Ndlovu
Makoni, April 28, 2016 – SEVEN houses belonging to Elton Mangoma’s Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe (RDZ)’s followers in Headlands were burnt down on Tuesday night by suspected Zanu PF activists who were allegedly punishing the victims for supporting the opposition party.
The incident happened before midnight in Makuvamombe village, Makoni North under Ward 5 in the violence prone Headlands area, Manicaland.
The victims suspect their homes were burnt down by those who were were trying to intimidate them against testifying in a case in which some Zanu PF activists are due to face trial on charges of assaulting an RDZ member, one Solomon Makuvamombe who is village headman.
A distraught Makuvamombe narrated his ordeal when RadioVOP visited the scene Wednesday afternoon, saying the family kitchen was set alight around midnight when they had all gone to sleep.
“I heard my children screaming while I was asleep saying there was a fire gutting the house. I then rushed outside to find the house indeed burning. I was left shocked,” he said, adding that he suspected some Zanu PF activists in his area.
Two children who were sleeping in the kitchen were lucky to survive the inferno.
Another victim Anna Mukovamombe, a widow from the same village, had two of her only huts gutted down.
“I was asleep and was awakened by the fire which was engulfing my hut. It was as if I was dreaming.
“I bolted out of the house and started running towards my neighbour’s house while screaming.
“It is during that incident that I saw two people running away into the darkness.”
Anna said she also lost all her grain reserves which were in one the burnt houses.
She also lost five bags of fertiliser, a bag of round nuts and three bags of ground nuts.
The widow, who lives alone, said she was left with nothing to eat and wear.
Other victims of this catastrophic incident refused to speak to the media for fear of victimisation.
It emerged during the visit that people in the politically volatile area were now living in constant fear of being associated with any opposition party.
Mangoma, who is former MP for Makoni, visited the scene on Wednesday where he said he was appalled by the behaviour of the perpetrators saying police must arrest the criminal elements who have generally been spared for past offences because of their links to the ruling party.
“This is the worst form of violence particularly in rural areas,” he said.
“You can see this widow (Mukuvamombe) has been left with nothing. We have seen this before and this is a repeat, we want political tolerance.
“The police must act; if they don’t act, we will be disappointed … it will show their partisan nature.”
Efforts to get a comment from the Manicaland police spokesperson and Zanu PF officials in the province were fruitless.
Zanu PF national spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo, on his part, said he was in Victoria Falls and had no information on what had happened.
“I am in Victoria Falls where I am attending a conference. I have no information whatsoever,” he said.