Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Soldiers deployed in Matabeleland

Soldiers deployed in Matabeleland

By Oscar Nkala
Sunday, 20 March 2011 14:34

BULAWAYO – Heavily armed soldiers have been deployed in Matabeleland and 
Midlands provinces, a development which human rights organisations fear will 
revive memories of the massacres in which 20 000 civilians perished.

Human rights groups say the soldiers have been deployed to intimidate 
villagers into supporting Zanu PF ahead of elections which Zanu PF insist 
will be held this year.

Information obtained by the Daily News shows a steady incursion of armed 
troops into Nkayi, Zvishavane, Plumtree, Gwanda, Rutenga, Mwenezi and 
Ngungumbane areas. Already, there has been an increase in reports of 
intimidation by members of the army.

But the minister of defence Emmerson Mnangagwa denied that soldiers had been 

“There is no way soldiers can conduct party business. Zanu PF has structures 
that are capable of running on their own, so there will never be any need 
for the military to run its politics. Our policy and charter forbid us from 
doing so,” Mnangagwa said.

In Plumtree, soldiers attached to border patrol units have turned to the 
villages where they engage in routine assault of people and supposed 
opposition sympathisers.

Former Bulilima East MP Norman Mpofu told the Daily News that there was 
renewed terror campaign by soldiers in Plumtree and the nearby communities.

“Until recently, the soldiers were well behaved but of late they have turned 
violent. Two weeks ago, they assaulted nearly everyone who was at the 
Plumtree border gate for no apparent reason and we still hear a lot of 
incidents where they move through villages threatening people. The people 
are scared,” Mpofu said.

Nkayi Senator Robert Makhula said he met soldiers travelling in a convoy of 
five pick-up trucks near Tohwe, about 30 north of Nkayi on Sunday.

“I spoke to them and they said they are going out to revamp Zanu PF 
structures and to deal with those people who were in Zanu PF but joined 
opposition factions. It sounds like a general intimidation pattern which 
will harass anyone who does not support Zanu PF,” Makhula said.

Buletsi Sibanda, a human rights activist at Gwanda Agenda also confirmed the 
increase in harassment and intimidation by soldiers.

“I have personally handled three cases in which armed soldiers based at 
Rustlers Gorge in Gwanda South went to Halisupi Business Centre and forced 
two teachers, Charles Gwate and Malvern Ndlovu, to do press-ups and roll on 
the ground for allegedly not supporting Zanu PF. A villager Philimon 
Gwingwizha was assaulted on that day,” said Sibanda.

He added that community based rights monitors have also reported growing 
patterns of threats, violence and intimidation blamed on soldiers deployed 
within Zanu PF District Coordinating Committee (DCC) structures in parts of 
Gwanda North.

Zimbabwe African People’s Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) Veterans Trust 
spokesman Busta Magwizi said there is a ‘military plot’ to keep Mugabe in 

“Yes, there is a military plot to keep Mugabe in power. Soldiers continue to 
be deployed to the rural areas in various pretexts to spearhead the 
restructuring of Zanu PF and weaken all opposition

“Last week, we went to the ground in southern Midlands and parts of Masvingo 
and noted a sudden increase of military personnel in Zvishavane, Rutenga, 
Mwenezi and Ngungumbane areas where they are restructuring Zanu PF.

“In Mwenezi, I met and spoke to one soldier and perpetrator of violence, 
Solomon Mabhenda Ndlovu, known to his victims as ‘Comrade Hazvigoni’ who 
confesses to killing at least two opposition MDC
supporters prior to the 2008 elections.

“I also saw one Colonel Xavier Hungwe who is assigned to the Zanu PF 
restructuring campaign and is now based at Neshuro Growth Point. There is 
also one Major Tshudini Moyo who is restructuring Zanu PF,  Mwenezi DCC 
structures. They are all involved in acts of violence and intimidation 
against the people,” Magwizi said.


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