An MDC activist, who identified himself only as Amon for fear of victimization, says he saw his colleague being gunned down by a group of soldiers in Budiriro.
“I saw one of them pointing a gun and I thought he wanted to shoot me so I started running,” he says. “I heard William’s loud cry and I knew he had been shot but I continued running, fearing that they will fire another one.”
In a scene reminiscent of the violent June 2008 elections, 150 MDC supporters huddled together at the party’s headquarters in Harare’s Central Business District (CBD) this week after they were chased out of their homes by ZANU-PF youth militia, soldiers, and war veterans.
Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena denies that the police are Mugabe partisans, saying instead that it is the MDC that has provoked ZANU-PF supporters. “In most cases, MDC activists are the ones who provoke and rush then to the police to report,” he says. “The police are never partisan. We are a professional force.”
The surge in politically motivated violence comes barely a week after the MDC secretary-general, Finance Minister Tendai Biti, warned that Zimbabwe could face a “bloodbath” at elections this year if the international community does not help to prevent the crisis.
“The tell-tale signs are already there that you could have another bloodbath,” said Mr. Biti.
MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa says ZANU-PF is trying to provoke his party so that the violence degenerates into anarchy.
“Whenever there is an election, ZANU-PF starts a campaign of violence against the country’s innocent citizens,” says Mr. Chamisa, who also heads the Ministry of Information Technology Communication in the coalition government. “It is not a civil way of transacting politics in this day and age.”