Zaka Villagers have blamed Zanu PF MP for Zaka Central Constituency, Paradzai Chakona and party hooligans for inciting political mayhem in the volatile area. Villagers, who attended the public dialogue facilitated by Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development (COTRAD) at Four Miles Shopping Centre in Zaka District last week, said Chakona and known Zanu PF members from the provincial party offices were moving in all wards in the entire district threatening villagers with violence reminiscent of the 2008 terror campaign. Local villagers are being forced to attend party meetings and events. A local villager, Mr Phainos Mashawi of Mageza area said Chakona and his group force marched villagers to the Zanu PF controlled District Independence Day celebrations. “Zanu PF held a meeting at Chinyaradza Primary School last week and Chakona announced that everyone must attend party meetings in the area. He ordered villagers to buy Zanu PF membership cards and reminded them about the 2008 election violence, ” said Mashawi. Chakona also said Zanu PF card carrying members would be considered for relief programmers. He also said opposition members working for Zaka Rural District Council would be sacked. “We are seriously concerned about the cases of intimidation and threats of violence from Honorable Chakona and his supporters. The MP also declared that the Command Agriculture Programme will benefit Zanu PF card holders only” said one youth.
COTRAD is deeply concerned about the political victimisation and high levels of intolerance in Zaka District as the country prepares for next year’s elections. “COTRAD sincerely calls on political parties to conduct their activities in a free and peaceful manner. According to the Constitution, every Zimbabwean Citizen has the right to form, join and participate in the activities of a political party or organisation of his or her choice. Everyone has the right to campaign freely and peacefully for a political party or cause; and to participate, individually or collectively, in gatherings or groups or in any other manner, in peaceful activities to influence, challenge or support the policies of the Government or a political or whatever cause,” said COTRAD in a statement.