Pulling down of posters mars peaceful campaigns in Mashonaland West

Chinhoyi, July 26, 2013 – An upsurge of politically-motivated violent cases is being reportedin some parts of the Mashonaland West province as contestingcandidates accuse each other of pulling down each others’ campaigningposters.The most hit areas include Chinhoyi, Shackleton, Alaska, Lion’s Den,Banket and Mtorashanga.Chinhoyi parliamentary candidate Sibongile Mgijima of MDC Ncubeformation accuses activists from the Tsvangirai formation and Zanu PFof pulling down her posters. Peter Matarutse is standing on the MDC-Tticket while flamboyant businessman Philip Chiyangwa represents Zanu-PF in the constituency.Mgijima says what other parties are doing is “barbaric anduncivilized” and that they fear competition especially from women likeher.“Chiyangwa and Matarutse are cowards as their followers are movingaround pulling down my posters” charged MgijimaThe situation does not get better in Mtorashanga where Zanu PFcandidate Ignatius Chombo is squaring off with two women MDC-T’sAbigail Sauti and his ex-wife Marian Chombo, an independent candidate,in the fiercely contested seat.More than four farm workers at Winray farm owned by Mtanda CAPSHoldings chairman were evicted allegedly at the instruction of Chombothis week.Sauti said what pained her most is that the evictions followed ameeting where all contestants met with the police to discuss theelection and the need to curtail violence.In Lion’s Den the MDC-T’s aspiring council candidate ChristopherMakoni claims to have been manhandled by the Zanu PF candidate atMurereka police station after reporting to the police that his posterswere being pulled down.Some Shackleton Mine residents accuse Zanu PF members for threateninglandlords for accommodating MDC-T members. They allegedly haveinstructed landlords to evict all perceived MDC-T supporters.Kizito Shambare is one such unfortunate lodger.“I’m here in the open during this winter because Zanu PF membersthreatened my landlady to evict me saying I’m a sellout” said KizitoMashonaland West police spokesperson Inspector Clemence Mabgweazaraconfirmed that the police are investigating cases of political violence inChinhoyi and Lion’s Den but refused to divulge details.Mashonaland West provincial Joint Monitoring and ImplementationCommittee(Jomic) said they are planning to hold meetings in the affected areas withcandidates and their campaigning teams.The situation apparently deteriorated when President Robert Mugabeaddressed a star rally at Chinhoyi University of Technology groundslast week.(Source: Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe- MMPZ)