WASHINGTON, 28 MAY 2008 - Political violence continued to flare in various parts of Zimbabwe this week despite an assurance from a police spokesman in Harare that the situation was under control.
In the Buhera North constituency of Manicaland, sources reported violent clashes between supporters of the ruling ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe and the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Morgan Tsvangirai.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai will face each other June 27 in a presidential runoff election, the March 29 first round having been deemed inconclusive by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. The commission said Tsvangirai took 47.9% of ballots, short of a majority, while Mr. Mugabe was said to have claimed a 43.2% share.
Tsvangirai's MDC formation and the MDC grouping led by Arthur Mutambara between them claimed a majority in the lower house of parliament in a stinging setback for the ruling party. Violence against MDC supporters in rural areas quickly ensued.
The state-controlled Herald newspaper said six ZANU-PF supporters were in serious condition at Murambinda Hospital after clashing with suspected opposition members. The newspaper said 10 homes were burned along with other property.
Another Manicaland source said opposition organizing secretary for Makoni West constituency Aaron Gandanga was abducted from Masvosva Business Center late Wednesday by armed militia in two trucks. His whereabouts were undetermined.
Despite such incidents, police spokesman Oliver Mandipaka told party representatives meeting in Harare Wednesday that authorities had the situation under control.
Elsewhere, the Chiweshe area of Mazowe Central constituency, Mashonaland Central province, remained a no-go area following violent clashes this week which left at least two ZANU-PF supporters dead. Sources familiar with events in the area said soldiers and riot police had sealed off the district and were arresting all males.
Newly elected member of parliament for Mazowe Central constituency Shepherd Mushonga told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that soldiers and ZANU-PF youth militia on Thursday forced villagers to a ruling party political meeting, obliging schools in the area to close in the process.
Source: Voice of America