Mugabe in massive Army recruitment in Matabeleland to use them on Shona raids
Bulawayo, - A human rights organisation has criticised the massive recruitment of Matabeleland youth to the national army, saying this is a plot by Zanu (PF) to win back the province through intimidation and violence.
“Why target Matabeleland from all the regions in particular? We have seen Matabeleland being used as a political laboratory for all sorts of experiments and we feel this is one such project,” Bulawayo Agenda said in a statement obtained by Radio VOP.
Bulawayo Agenda called on youth in Matabeleland to shun the army call up, saying the youth needed jobs in industries and not the military.
“Matabeleland has more pressing priorities than employing its youth by the military. People of Matabeleland need water not the Army. Employ all these youth in the Matabeleland Zambezi Water project than make them soldiers.
“We believe that they will be used to perpetuate violence during elections next year if they join the Army. We would like to urge the youth to make responsible decisions concerning their future and that of the country,” Bulawayo Agenda noted.
“We are not in a war situation. We do not see any significant security threat to warrant fresh recruitment. This is a plot to weaken the Matabeleland electorate through a postal vote mechanism.
Soldiers cast their vote through the postal voting system. But the mechanism has been criticised as a vote rigging process as there have been reports of soldiers being forced to cast their votes in front of their commanders.
“Voting of the military is highly vulnerable to manipulation and this would have an adverse effect on the political voice of the people of Matabeleland,” it noted.
The country may head for polls next year to undo a unity government launched in February, 2009 between President Robert Mugabe and the former opposition MDC. Both Mugabe and MDC leader and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have insisted on fresh elections as a way of solving the current political impasse caused by the lack of implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) which brought about the formation of the fragile coalition government.
Zanu (PF) has already embarked on a campaign of intimidation and violence against suspected MDC supporters with reports that soldiers had been deployed to direct election campaigns for the party.
Tsvangirai has however said his MDC party will boycott polls if there is violence and intimidation against its supporters.
In 2008 almost 200 MDC supporters were killed, while thousands others were tortured, beaten, raped and displaced from their homes in the pre and post election violence.
Robert Mugabe, whose roots have been traced to the Hutu tribes in the Africa's Great Lakes region, is suddenly claiming to be Ndebele.
A highly placed source revealed that Mugabe plans to use the Ndebele soldiers to committ atrocities on Shona people.
In Hurungwe, villagers of ward 8 here have already been warned that election time will be a time for war and a lot of blood will be spilt.
Former Kariba MP Tongai Nyikadzino told villagers at a meeting attended by Radio VOP: "Zanu (PF) will rule forever. Election is declaration of war against the party. Blood must spill like in any war situation, we are geared for that. We will establish bases a few days before elections to deal with those against Zanu (PF) even if it means killing them."
Ward 8 was won by late MDC-T councillor Paddington Chavhuruma during the March 2008 harmonised election.
Zanu (PF)'s Jahweti Kazangarare and Peter Madamombe led terror campaign in the area in 2008 where women were raped and some men beaten and injured ahead of the bloody presidential June run- off.
Nyikadzino is currently leading the party membership audit team ahead of the annual party conference to be held in Mutare this month.
Fifty- five headmen covering Karuru and Chundu were forced to attend meetings recently with their subjects as part of a roll call.
"We are attending these meetings out of fear because they are instilling fear in us," said a villager.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe media reports that Soldiers stationed in Zimbabwe’s Mashonaland East province have held training drills in villages as part of a drive to intimidate villagers into backing President Robert Mugabe in elections expected next year, a human rights group has reported.
Zimbabwe’s army is fiercely pro-Mugabe and together with youth militia from the President’s ZANU PF party and war veterans has led violence against the veteran leader’s political opponents during elections. The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) said the army has stepped up its presence in villages while ZANU PF militia have set up torture camps in some parts of the country – in a chilling reminder to voters of the unprecedented violence that swept across Zimbabwe two years ago.
“Military presence in communities has been a source of constant fear for villagers, who anticipate a repeat of the 2008 electoral violence at the hands of the ZANU PF militias and serving members of the army,” the ZPP said in its latest report on politically motivated human rights violations in Zimbabwe.
“The military’s show of power has been strong in Mashonaland East, where soldiers at Joko Army Barracks are taking their training drills to the villages, instead of the secluded military base near Mutoko,” the group said in the report on political violence and human rights abuses in the month of October.
In another incident, the ZPP said traditional chiefs from Manicaland province were summoned to a “indoctrination workshop” where the Brigadier-General Douglas Nyikayaramba told the chiefs to support ZANU PF or they would be deposed from their positions.
Zimbabwe is next year looking to hold a referendum on a new constitution followed by elections that many analysts have warned could see a return to violence without political, security and electoral reforms. The ZPP said political violence is resurgent across the country with the group saying it recorded 896 cases of violence and human rights abuses including assault, intimidation, rape and torture in October compared to 869 such incidents recorded in the previous month.
The ZPP said ZANU PF militia have set up torture camps in Mashonaland Central province – a sure sign of worse things to come. “Torture bases have also been established in Mashonaland Central in the areas of Muzarabani and Bindura North constituencies leaving villagers terrified,” said the ZPP.
Zimbabwe’s elections have been characterized by political violence and gross human rights abuses with the last vote in 2008 ending inconclusively after the military-led campaign of violence and murder that forced then opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to withdraw from a second round presidential ballot.
A power-sharing government formed by Mugabe and Tsvangirai after the flopped poll was tasked to stabilise the economy, easy political tensions and write a new and democratic constitution that would ensure future elections are free and fair.
The coalition government has scored well on the economy but has struggled on the political front with constitutional reforms marred by reports of violence and intimidation, while security forces have continued to threaten the rule of law and human rights