The MDC councillor for the area Stephen Mhlanga told Radio VOP in an interview that Muresherwa who is a serving member in the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) and also an aspiring Member of Parliament for Chimanimani East has been moving around door –to- door in the area with armed soldiers asking the villagers’ political allegiance.
“Mhakwe and Chikwakwa wards are under siege from colonel Muresherwa. For the past month Muresherwa has been compiling a list of all MDC supporters in the area. All MDC supporters have been given up to 15 July this month to renounce their MDC membership and join Zanu (PF),” said Mhlanga who is the councillor for ward 19 which covers the area.
Mhlanga said scores of MDC supporters in the area are now leaving in fear following Muresherwa’s threats.
He said some MDC supporters have already “defected” to Zanu (PF) and are expected to be paraded at a Zanu (PF) rally which has been set for 15 July at Ndangana business centre in Chikwakwa.
“All the local headmen and chiefs have been instructed to mobilise their subjects to attend the Zanu (PF) meeting. Soldiers including Brigadier –General Douglas Nyikayaramba will address the meeting,” said Mhlanga. Nyikayaramba last month heightened the role of the country’s military involvement in politics when he openly stated that he supports President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) party and described the MDC leader and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai as a “national “ security threat.
The MDC Coordinator for Chimanimani office, Pardon Maguta on Thursday said his party is taking Muresherwa’s threats very seriously.
“Our councillors from the two wards have been to the office asking guidance over the latest developments in the area. Ordinary members of the party have also been coming to the offices expressing concern over the threats,” said Maguta.
Two months ago Zanu (PF) youths allegedly under the colonel’s instructions torched down several huts of MDC ‘s supporters in Nyambeya’s area in Cashel valley while two beats belonging to the local MDC district chairperson were axed by the youths after the chairperson refused to sign the so called ant-sanction petition.
Muresherwa has also been moving around in the constituency with Zanu (PF) youths dolling out cabbages and small pockets of salt as part of his campaign gimmick.
During the run up to the discredited March 2008 elections Muresherwa moved around the constituency brandishing an Ak 47 and intimidating MDC supporters. Efforts to get a comment from colonel Muresherwa were all in vain .