SW Radio Africa (London)

Zimbabwe: Isolated Doma Tribe in the Dark About Referendum and Elections

One of the country's most isolated and reclusive tribes has very little knowledge about the forthcoming referendum and elections, an aspiring MDC-T parliamentary candidate claimed on Friday.

The Doma tribe from Angwa in the Dande valley in Mashonaland Central province still wear very little clothing, although both men and women will wear animal hide around the waist.

Blessing Karembera, who is challenging to represent the MDC-T in the next elections, told us the Doma (who speak the indigenous Korekore language) have defied civilization and still uphold their ancient cultural and traditional ways of life.

Speaking on SW Radio Africa's Election Watch program Karembera described the Doma tribe as completely unaccustomed to modern society and technology.

'They still hunt for food using bow and arrows and some still do not wear clothes apart from covering their genitals. They possess excellent skills in gathering and hunting but they still shun strangers...if you want to speak to them you go through their chief or else they run away from unannounced visitors,' Karembera said.

Karembera explained that the Doma tribe was completely 'cut off' and that the constituency they live under is one of the least developed areas in the country. The Mbire constituency falls under ZANU PF, whose MP is Herbert Paul Mazikani.

'Government has forgotten all about the Doma tribe. I was in the area two weeks ago and they have no knowledge the country will be going for a referendum in a month's time,' he said, adding that he wondered if the Doma were ever consulted during the constitutional outreach program.

He blamed the former ruling ZANU PF regime for not introducing government-mandated modernization programs for such tribes, in the face of technological development.

'There is no road network. The only tarred road you see is in Mahuhwe which is 70km away. While we want to respect their privacy, we need the government to move in and modernize the area and make it accessible to health workers.

'It looks like the majority of them were not even registered to vote so I'm making every effort to ensure officials from ZEC visit the area and get them to register,' Karembera added.

The constituency is also well known for the bloody violence that was waged by Mazikani and his followers during the 2008 poll. The incumbent MP has been described as the chief perpetrator of political violence by many victims of his terror campaign in that part of the Dande valley.

Karembera said many MDC-T supporters from the constituency, who were victims of his extensive and brutal trail of assault and torture, still fear him.

Mazikani was also known for his well-calculated method of instilling fear in his victims, assaulting and torturing them at his rallies as a warning to all those who were supporting or dared to vote the MDC.

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