Masvingo—The Bikita West Citizens Coalition for Change parliamentary candidate, Pikirai Gutuza, and the opposition party’s Ward 30 council aspirant, Trust Zinyama, were severely assaulted by Zanu PF supporters at Domboshava polling station on voting day.
Zinyama’s whereabouts could not be established after the attack, amid fear that he was abducted.
Gutuza, who was left needing medical attention and had difficulties walking after sustaining injuries, told NewsHub that they were assaulted at the polling station by up to 15 Zanu PF activists as police details watched.
Gutuza and Zinyama were checking on the voting process and their polling agents.
Zinyama survived by ducking into the polling station while Gutuza was bundled into the attackers’ vehicle.
“They said they wanted to take me to an unknown destination to finish me off. They only released me after Bhadharai’s vehicle appeared. They thought Bhadharai (a senior CCC member) was coming to rescue me in the company of our supporters, but that wasn’t the case,” said Gutuza.
The aspiring lawmaker reported his case at the Bikita police station under Reports Received Book (RRB) number 566725.
“They followed me to Bikita and assaulted my other polling agent Godfrey Chitate who had come to me thinking I had brought him food.
“They confiscated my phone and damaged Zinyama’s. Right now I can’t even walk properly due to the injuries I sustained,” he said.
He said the attackers were led by well-known Zanu PF members, Delight Mandebvu and Tongai Shamu, who, however, could not be traced for comment.
The Zanu PF provincial leaders could not be reached to comment.
Zimbabwe held harmonised elections to elect the next president, parliamentarians and councillors on Wednesday.
Even though the run-up to the polls was generally quiet, voting day was chaotic in many areas.
There were serious delays in polling in the capital, Harare, Bulawayo and other mainly urban areas.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) attributed the delays to the late distribution of voting materials.
The opposition CCC party president, Nelson Chamisa, cried rigging, wondering why far off and hard-to-reach areas has received voting materials on time.
Harare and Bulawayo, like most urban areas have been dominated by the opposition since 2000.
In some constituencies in Harare, voting spilled into Thursday as ballot papers took long to come.
At some of the polling stations where severe delays were experienced, the ballot papers quickly ran out, raising the ire of voters.
Skirmishes broke out between Zanu PF and CCC supporters in Harare, Masvingo and Manicaland when an affiliate of the former that is being run by central intelligence, Forever Associates of Zimbabwe Trust (FAZ) tried to force voters to share their personal information from within polling premises.
Matthew Takaona, a former journalist and CCC parliamentary candidate for Gutu Central, confirmed the breakout of violence and cases of intimidation in the constituency.
A CCC lorry distributing food to polling agents was waylaid by suspected Zanu PF supporters who were allegedly being assisted by reported intelligence operatives using a red Toyota Hilux.
Takaona’s team managed to recover the truck in the evening.
The assailants, he said, moved from one polling station to the other, intimidating perceived CCC supporters.
Takaona complained that voters were being marshalled by traditional leaders and expressed worry over an unusual number of assisted voters.
“Our estimation is that about 2,500 people were assisted to vote, out of about 15,000 voters. I didn’t see any need to assist such a big number, so we are really worried,” said Takaona.
Reports indicate more attacks in Masvingo.
The CCC Masvingo West aspiring lawmaker, Pedzisai Gasva, reportedly had his car damaged by suspected Zanu PF assailants.while that belonging to an unnamed Ward 10 council candidate in the same constituency was also damaged.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has repeatedly called for peace during the elections.