By Tichaona Sibanda
A United Methodist Church Reverend lost an eye when soldiers and militias near Nyazura in Manicaland province attacked him on Saturday. The 42 year-old Reverand, Takura Bango, is in an intensive care unit at a hospital in Mutare. He is due to go for an operation in the next 48 hours on his right eye. The Reverend is from Chitenderano in Makoni South constituency. MDC MP elect for the area Pishai Muchauraya said soldiers, led by a Major Dangirwa, and militias were responsible for the attack on Reverand Bango. ‘The attack was brutal. They used logs and sticks to beat him up saying he supported the MDC. He lost his right eye in the attack and the beating only stopped after they realised what they had done to him,’ Muchauraya said. The MDC MP added that dozens more were left injured on Saturday as soldiers and militias went on a rampage. The beatings were punishment for attending an MDC meeting on Friday. Muchauraya said Major Dangirwa made it clear the MDC was banned from holding any rallies in the province. In another attack, last week Monday, an outspoken and well known Mt Selinda mission chaplain was abducted, following his powerful sermon on the injustice, corruption, misgovernance and the illegitimacy of the Mugabe regime from 1980 to date. War veterans later invaded the mission and abducted the Reverand, who was later released after intense interrogation.
‘Soldiers have taken over the role of police officers. Zanu PF is fighting an undeclared war against innocent and unarmed victims. We need peacekeepers to bring this madness to an end,’ Muchauraya said. The MDC secretary for International Affairs, Professor Elphas Mukonoweshuro, said election monitors and observers were expected to jet into the country on Monday. ‘They are supposed to arrive today (Monday) so we are checking with our officials to find out who has arrived,’ Mukonoweshuro said. The issue of observers has now become a major concern for the MDC after the Southern African Development Community promised to send an enlarged contingent by early June to monitor the elections. Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of South Africa said on Sunday the levels of intimidation showed the importance of deploying large numbers of election monitors. Speaking in Johannesburg after a trip to Zimbabwe the Archbishop said the country was now a police state. ‘The levels of intimidation I witnessed on a visit to Zimbabwe last week underline the crucial importance of deploying large numbers of both international and local election monitors for the June 27 presidential run-off,’ he said.