Residents in Zaka have warned that there is worsening violence in Masvingo province, with ZANU PF being blamed for a growing number of attacks and incidents of intimidation.
Most recently, the ward chairman of the MDC-T in Zaka Central was hospitalised along with his wife after their home was petrol bombed by suspected ZANU PF members last week. Nelson Bvudzijena and his wife were rushed to St. Anthony's Musiso hospital with reportedly serious injuries.
A resident in Zaka told SW Radio Africa this week that the attack on the Bvudzijena home followed a confrontation between the ward chairman and a gang of known ZANU PF thugs. The argument is believed to have been about Bvudzijena's loyalties to the MDC, which prompted the ZANU PF members to threaten him. The thugs are said to have warned Bvudzijena that they "would come for him at night." Days later, Bvudzijena's home was burned down while was sleeping.
The resident explained that not one of the perpetrators of the arson attack was arrested, despite the group openly bragging about the incident. The same group is believed to have assaulted a number of other people in Zaka last week, and have threatened to repeat the same violence seen in the province during the 2008 elections.
The resident told SW Radio Africa that people are living in fear, because the memories of the violence in 2008 are still strong.
"Things are so bad that right now I am looking around to see that no one hears me. If they heard me talking like this I could be in danger," the resident said.
The MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai visited Bvudzijena over the weekend, during a memorial service held in honour of MDC members who were murdered in Zaka district at the height of the 2008 election period. Tsvangirai said: "We need justice to prevail because we are going for a crucial election and the fear factor has to be dealt with. We are aware ZANU PF is involved in military actions that are being planned against unarmed civilians."
"(Robert) Mugabe is a hypocrite because he is only shedding crocodile tears calling for an end to violence when he is not keen to stop violence," Tsvangirai said, adding: "We are tired of being fooled around with by ZANU PF."