An 18-year-old Zimbabwean girl on Monday said she was abducted from her house by Zanu PF youths who took turns to assault her for almost three hours.
The young woman, Natasha Bakalia, told reporters in Harare the attack took place in the presence of Ronald Chindengwa, the Zanu PF candidate in a by-election in the small town of Norton, west of the capital.
She said she was taken from her mother’s home in Calf Ward 10 in Norton on Saturday afternoon by young men who arrived in two trucks and a small car. Her mother is campaigning for independent candidate, Temba Mliswa, who was present as she addressed media.
Bakalia said the youths tore her skirt and asked her to change it in their presence before they bundled her into one of the trucks and drove her to a torture base in Ngoni township.
Mliswa will battle it out with Zanu PF’s Chindedza and David Choga of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) in the by-election on October 22.
She said the rowdy youths were singing songs denouncing Mliswa and said they wanted to evict her mother from their lodgings because the house belonged to a Zanu PF member and that they could no longer continue staying there because of who they were supporting.
“They grabbed me my skirt and tore it. One of them kicked me and I fell to the ground.They bundled me into one of the trucks and drove to the base in Ngoni township where they took turns to beat me and forced me to wear a Zanu PF t-shirt,” she said.
Bakalia said the youths wanted her to spy on Mliswa for them.
She said after the beatings, which lasted more than three hours while Chindedwa was present, she was escorted home by five Zanu youths, only to find their house locked.
“They locked the house and went away with the keys and we have been sleeping at a neighbour’s house,” she said.
Another victim of political violence, Violet Masikini, said she was beaten together with her husband until she lost consciousness.
“I sustained injuries to the head, which is swollen and have shaking teeth. They were chanting anti-Mliswa slogans and saying I was sleeping with him,” she said.
Mliswa told the press conference that he was worried about the escalating cases of violence against his supporters, saying they had documented more than 15 cases in the last 48 hours.
He said although the attacks were reported to the police, there had not been a single arrest so far.
The former Zanu PF legislator for Hurungwe West said he was going to take up the case of the abduction of Bakalia with the First Lady, Grace Mugabe.
“A number of cases have been reported within the past few days where we have witnessed the sad and worrying incident of a girl child being abducted, harassed and beaten. The case was reported and is under RRB number 2958846. It was more disconcerting to note that this incident happened in the presence of the Norton Zanu PF candidate,” he said.
He further alleged that members of his campaign team were being arrested on trumped up charges.
Mliswa also said that the special liaison committee, which is a constitutional requirement, was yet to be established, with just 12 days to go before the vote.
“The special liaison police officer and committee’s absence is glaringly obvious and creating a huge gap in the expeditious investigation of reported cases,” he said.
He said Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the police had remained silent.
Police spokesperson for Mashonaland West Province, Inspector Clemence Mabweazara, who is based in the province’s capital Chinhoyi, said he was yet to get reports from Norton police.
“I have not yet received any reports from Norton, if you call me tomorrow I might have the information,” he said.