By Lance Guma
Shocking new video footage exposes how ZANU PF is using physical and psychological violence to intimidate people in the rural areas. Two videos clearly show a ZANU PF MP in Muzarabani and a district leader in Mudzi threatening villagers who support the MDC-T with violence. Both warn of beatings by war vets and youth militias or the denial of food and other projects as punishment.
Despite spirited denials from ZANU PF over the years that they do not use violence as a political tool, their MP for Muzarabani South, Edward Raradza is shown doing exactly that in the footage. Around April this year Raradza addressed a meeting at which he told villagers “nothing can stop us from doing what we want” in terms of ZANU PF’s agenda in the constitution making and referendum process.
“Ladies and gentlemen, do you know the war vets and the youth militia? When our time has come, there won’t be laughing. We will protect this party (ZANU PF) and if we hear that you are MDC, we won’t forgive you. If we let them (MDC) grow we won’t be able to control them. Therefore we need to stop them. We can’t listen to MDC.” The MP then asks the crowd who the local headman is.
“If we hear that he (headman) allowed MDC to hold a meeting in this place. Tell some of them (MDC) that we will bring projects and food and for them to benefit they should come back home (to ZANU PF). By home I don’t mean that people should vote but they should not tell people about MDC. They know that even in Parliament we tell them. I am saying this here and if the MDC people are not here go and tell them that MP Raradza Edward has said so.”
Raradza then goes into giving examples of the violence that was taking place in Harare at the time.
“These days if you read the newspapers they say ‘Harare is on fire’. It’s true other houses are on fire. If a person is rebellious, there is no other way to deal with him. The ZANU PF MP then used the analogy of Jesus walking into the temple when it was being defiled by the money changers. “Jesus beat people in the temple, so we are not the first ones to beat (people),” he said.
The footage also shows ZANU PF youths in Mudzi, who are first shown marching to a meeting at the Raja Base, sometime in April this year. ZANU PF district coordinating committee member Newman Nyakuba addresses the meeting after having conducted the customary “forward with Mugabe, forward with going to elections and down with the MDC” slogans, to which the crowd, forced to attend, respond with “forward.”
In the film Nyakuba pushes the ZANU PF agenda for early elections this year, telling the villagers they have to register to vote because it is a ‘crime’ if they do not do so. He looks menacingly to the crowd and asks them what will happen if they are not on the voters roll. The crowd says ‘beaten.’ Nyakuba reminds them “the guys (ZANU PF youth militias and war vets) are not afraid to beat people. They can even beat a million people until they are finished,” he warns them.
“That is what we do. We want you to protect your country. You will protect it through voting, as President Mugabe has signed that we are going to vote. After that we make sure that we control the rural areas, so that the enemy eats (wins) in towns. The youths present here have seen that being sell outs is wrong. They realised that being sell outs does not work and returned to the party (ZANU PF).”
Both videos clearly show that ZANU PF will do anything to retain power and far from the media spotlight in the rural areas, they are waging a physical and psychological war against impoverished villagers who just want a better life. Even where no actual violence is used, they are reminded by senior ZANU PF figures of what the war vets and youth militia can do to them if they do not support ZANU PF.
Every Tuesday SW Radio Africa investigates unsolved and deliberately ignored cases of political violence, torture, murder and other forms of abuse, by people in positions of authority. The series is receiving tremendous public support and information and the coming weeks are set for some explosive exposures.