MDC supporters attacked ahead of poll

2013-03-15 19:07


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Harare - Seven members of Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's party were assaulted Friday while campaigning on the eve of a key constitutional referendum.

Sten Zvorwadza, a candidate MP for Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said the group was canvassing in a Harare township when they were attacked by supporters of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.

"We went down to Mbare to put up posters to canvass for a 'yes' vote when Zanu-PF rowdy youths descended on us," he told AFP.

"Seven of us got injured, two seriously."

Zvorwadza said he was hit in the neck with a bottle and punched. He also complained of spinal pain.

A BBC crew filming the campaign was also punched.

The British broadcaster's correspondent Andrew Harding said the MDC members were attacked while putting up posters urging people to vote for a new constitution on Saturday.

The draft constitution will underpin new elections to end the uneasy power-sharing arrangement between Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

Writing on the BBC website, Harding described Zvorwadza being hit and kicked by men and a woman being punched by other women.

"One of the had a gash on his hand, a cut lip and cheek and bruises on his head. It was clear he had been badly beaten," he wrote.

The journalists were also punched on the arms and back after an "increasingly large and agitated crowd" turned on them.

While the victims headed to hospital, one member of the team tried to lodge a complaint at a police station but was turned away, Zvorwadza said.

"We sent a guy to report but police refused to take a report because he was wearing an MDC T-shirt," he said.

There was no immediate comment from the police.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai were forced into an uneasy compromise government after polls in 2008 that were marred by deadly violence.

"The attacks are a clear testimony that Zanu-PF wants to embark on acts of violence," MDC spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora told AFP.

Read more on:    mdc  |  zanu-pf  |  morgan tsvangirai  |  robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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