Zim Political Heads To Meet Amid Escalating Violence

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai met President Robert Mugabe informally on Monday after he returned from medical check-up in Singapore.

The meeting comes at a time when State-sponsored violence is rocking the country. Soldiers, police and central intelligence organisation officers and Zanu (PF) vigilantes are implicated in the violence in the urban townships and in the villages.

A recent report by pro-democracy civil society organisations said the political temperature was so high that Zimbabwe risked sliding back into the dark pre-2008 era. It accused Zanu (PF) of violating the Global Political Agreement by letting its supporters terrorise villagers and Movement of Democratic Change supporters.

Government’s failure to depoliticise the security sector was described as a serious danger to an orderly political transition.

Tsvangirai said last week he had observed that the past few months there had been a marked deployment of soldiers and armed vigilantes in the countryside to recreate the terror of June 2008.

Meanwhile residents of Chitungwiza’s Unit O suburb have established Security Watch Committees to protect themselves against any attacks from Zanu (PF) youth militias who have been terrorising the suburb.

The security watch committees are made up of youths and elders and the group elders are aided with a whistle which they blow whenever there are threats of attacks from the violent Zanu (PF) youths.

Over the past three weeks Zanu (PF) youths had been terrorising the suburb and had been embarking on a door to door campaign threatening residents and forcing them to pay US$2 for party cards. They were also being forced to attend party meetings.

According to the organising secretary for the security watch committees David Hunda, the residents wanted peace in the suburb as they will continue to live together well after the elections are over.

“We sat down as elders of the suburb and mapped the way forward since we have been terrorised by the militias from Zanu (PF) for too long now.”

Tatenda Motsi welcomed the idea and said: “This is a wise move since we have been living in fear and one does not know when they will attack. We need to protect ourselves from the Zanu (PF) militias. Last week I was forced to pay US$2 for a membership card. They have not even come back to give us the cards. They are just criminals and we are ready to defend ourselves.”

The move by the residents of Chitungwiza came at a time when the country has been hit by a wave of political violence which has fatal in the restive suburb of Mbare and Epworth.