Political violence flares ahead of Matobo and Insiza by-elections

Scores of Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) members were on Monday attacked and injured by suspected ZANU-PF supporters in Insiza while coming from a campaign trip in Ward 4.

The assailants who were using sticks, logs, fists, and stones during the attack are believed to be the same group that attacked other CCC supporters in Matobo on Sunday.

In both districts, there will be by-elections to fill in vacant seats following the death of two ZANU-PF councillors.

Four vehicles that were being used by CCC campaign teams in Insiza were deflated and had their window panes and screens smashed and engines filled with sand, while some valuables including money and cell phones were confiscated by the attackers.

While the party estimates that over 20 of its members could have been injured during the attack, seven of them were ferried to Filabusi District Hospital and later to a private health facility in Bulawayo.

The seven include Bulawayo proportional representation legislator, Jasmine Toffa, the party’s Matabeleland South provincial spokesperson, Ntando Ndlela, and other party members – Headman Nkomo, Gladys Nkomo, Simangaliso Nkala, Dumisani Mathuthu and Nomzamo Moyo.

The party’s candidate in Saturday’s Ward 4 by-election, Augustine Gumede is said to have escaped before the situation could worsen.

After attacking party members, accusing them of being sell-outs and wanting to return the country to former white colonisers, the assailants then proceeded to Gumede’s homestead and destroyed household property.

“A terrible incident happened yesterday (Monday) in Insiza Ward 4 where ZANU-PF supporters came while we were having our meetings,” CCC Matabeleland South provincial spokesperson, Ntando Ndlela, told CITE.

“It was not a meeting per se. We were having a door-to-door campaign programme. We deployed our people to various points in a village near Edwaleni area. At around 1 pm during the day, those that had been deployed called us and said they were ready to be picked up.”

Ndlela explained further: “They (CCC campaign team members) had done what they were tasked to do. So we set off to pick them up. We were using two vehicles. Just as we got out of the homestead of our candidate (Gumede), we stopped for a while wanting to refuel one of the vehicles. Just as we stopped about 10 to 12 vehicles, some of them branded with ZANU-PF logos  for ZANU-PF Mashonaland East, some ZANU-PF Manicaland and some with other ZANU-PF logos just parked in front of us blocking our way and some at the back such that there was no way we could move. Before we could react, they started attacking us in a movie style.”

 The four vehicles destroyed belonged to Toffa, Angilacala Ndlovu, Mncedisi Malandu Ncube, and Gumede.

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