War veterans and Zanu PF militia on Wednesday severely assaulted a 59-year-old woman for wearing an MDC t-shirt and carrying an opposition party umbrella, at Watsomba business centre in Manicaland.
Juliet Dangare Mandiringa, a well-known opposition activist and grandmother of three, was passing by a long queue for sugar supplies which was manned by Zanu PF supporters when she was confronted. According to witnesses, the youths and war veterans accused her of being a sell-out and a saboteur of the economy. They then beat her up with sticks, clenched fists and booted feet before leaving her for dead. Some opposition activists took her for treatment in Mutare.
On Thursday, Mandiringa was still recovering from welts across the chest, cuts on the back and severe leg and head injuries.
Pishai Muchauraya, the MDC spokesman for Manicaland, accused Zanu PF of fomenting political violence in the region.
Muchauraya said: "We note with sadness the escalating levels of violence in Manicaland. It shows how much the Zanu PF seeds of violence, sown in 2000 have grown roots too deep to unroot. The assault of Mandiringa by youths young enough to be her grand children is quite regrettable. It means that efforts to end violence need to be intensified, with orders from Mugabe himself."
Meanwhile the six MDC activists arrested under the Law and Order Act for allegedly holding illegal political meetings have been remanded out of custody to 24 January next year.
The six were part of a group of 15 activists who were abducted from a house belonging to an MDC member in Chipinge South on Monday. The group was force-marched from the house by militias loyal to the Zanu-PF MP for the area, Enock Porusingazi. Nine of the activists were released on Tuesday.