CITIZENS Coalition for Change (CCC) deputy chairperson Job Sikhala yesterday claimed that the ruling Zanu PF party had set up torture bases in St Mary’s, Chitungwiza, to “deal” with opposition supporters.
Sikhala was addressing scores of CCC supporters at a provincial rally at Macheka Square to drum up support for CCC parliamentary and local authority candidates for the March 26 by-elections.
The CCC candidate for the St Mary’s constituency is Unganayi Tarusenga, who was recalled by the MDC-T in 2019.
He will face off against Norbert Jinjika of Zanu PF and other candidates. Local authority wards that are up for grabs include wards 11, 12, 15, 19 and 20 under the Chitungwiza Municipality.
“Zanu PF does not have supporters here in Chitungwiza and that is known. They have now resorted to their old tactics of violence against our people,” Sikhala said.
“They have set up a torture base along the river where they are torturing opposition party supporters. Just now they have assaulted one of our supporters with iron bars and left him for dead. They are being led by Professor, a Zanu PF councillor.”
Sikhala described CCC as a peace-loving party, but said they could retaliate if pushed to the limit.
“We are peace-loving, but we don’t want to be provoked. We are saying enough is enough and be warned,” he said.
Zanu PF spokesperson Chris Mutsvangwa said: “Who takes Sikhala seriously?”
The Zengeza West MP said he drove from Gokwe on Saturday night to attend the rally since party president Nelson Chamisa was scheduled to address supporters in Kwekwe.
“I had to drive back from Gokwe to attend this rally, but when I got here last night, there were some Zanu PF supporters who had set up a base with the aim of disturbing this rally. Who are you to stop this rally? Gone are the days when people would willy-nilly disrupt our meetings. Please don’t push us.”
Sikhala said vendors were being abused by the police who frequently confiscated their goods and shared them among themselves at police camps.
He said what happened on Saturday where people flocked to the rally in Gokwe despite an 11th hour police ban was a clear testimony of how determined people were for change.
Efforts to get a comment from national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi were fruitless yesterday.
Speaking at the rally, CCC provincial chairperson Wellington Chikombo hailed party supporters for attending rallies in their numbers.
“Within a few weeks after the formation of this party, we are getting these numbers. This is amazing, and I am grateful for your support,” Chikombo said.
“Zanu PF has destroyed everything from schools to the transport system and everything has collapsed. People are now leaving towns for rural areas since life is longer bearable.”
Chikombo said the change being advocated for by the CCC movement was the panacea to the country’s economic woes.
He encouraged people to register to vote for the 2023 elections.
CCC paraded its candidates for the National Assembly and local government that will contest during the 26 March by-elections in Harare
A truckload of police officers circled the venue, but this did not deter the supporters from attending.