Their claims come amid growing international concern about renewed political violence in Zimbabwe.Barnabas, an activist speaking from a ‘safe house’ in Harare, said: ” They broke my arm and started hitting me along my spine with a metal stake.”
Shingai, another opposition activist said: ” They came with petrol to my house and threatened to burn me along with my family, but instead they just beat me until I was unconscious.”
The men said many of the people living in Mbare, an area which has long been a stronghold of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), on the outskirts of Harare, have been forced to flee their homes since the beginning of the year.However, this slum community has undergone a dramatic political conversion in recent weeks, with posters of Mugabe plastered over every building, as it is not safe for the people to support the MDC, in the wake of recent incidents.
Local opposition councillor Paul Gorekore said: ” If you support the MDC, they come after you and beat you,” adding that even if people say that they will join Zanu PF (Mugabe’s party) they are still beaten to ensure their support.”
The present situation in Mbare is similar to the one in 2008, when Mugabe used force and violence to emerge victorious in the elections.
The MDC fears that Mugabe has similar plans to pursue the same strategy in the next election, which could be held later this year.