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There has been a wave of intra and inter-party violence in the last few weeks in some of the constituencies that have pending by-elections.

ZANU-PF youths have declared war on the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) and allies of ousted vice president Joice Mujuru in retaliation to perceived provocations.

Tough-talking ZANU-PF Youth League boss, Pupurai Togarepi, said party youths were ready to hit back and “defend the revolution”, whenever they feel the party is under threat.

His remarks come as the ruling party is being accused of unleashing violence ahead of the June 10 by-elections in 16 constituencies.

The elections were occasioned by bitter internal wrangles in the major parties that saw some Members of Parliament getting expelled from the legislative assembly.

There has been a wave of intra and inter-party violence in the last few weeks in some of the constituencies that have pending by-elections.

The violence left MDC-T legislator for Budiriro, Costa Machingauta, hospitalised and Harare provincial youth chairperson, Godwin Gomwe’s house petrol bombed.

What has, however, infuriated ZANU-PF youths are remarks attributed to former Prime Minister and MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai last week.

At one of his rallies, Tsvangirai said President Robert Mugabe would be forced to leave office by the end of the year.

ZANU-PF youths are interpreting the statement as part of attempts to unconstitutionally remove the incumbent from power.

Togarepi also claimed that slogan chanting MDC-T youths picketed at the ZANU-PF national headquarters last week in three trucks and started shouting and denouncing the revolutionary party’s leadership.

“We cannot accept that nonsense. When we see them and keep quiet, they must know that it is not because we are weak but we are only demonstrating our democracy. People must not provoke us to start taking action,” he said.

“We take cue from our President who preaches peace but when we see people insulting us, we will not tolerate that. Anyone doing that will be creating a fire they will not be able to extinguish.”

Asked about reports of ZANU-PF youths beating fellow party cadres in constituencies where elections are due, Togarepi said they were only doing so in self defense.

“Those allegations are coming from people who are about to lose elections and have started creating stories. But if you attack me I will not stand and watch you? If you beat me, I will hit you back,” he said.

Although police are yet to charge anyone for the violent activities, Togarepi was quick to point an accusing finger at the MDC-T and followers of ousted vice president, Mujuru.

He said if police do not make arrests soon, the youths will search for the truth on their own.

But MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu, dismissed Togarepi’s claims that youths from the country’s main opposition party were provoking ZANU-PF.

“No one in their right senses would believe that ZANU-PF needs any provocation to commit acts of violence. We all know that violence is in their bloodstream. They are only looking for an excuse to start their terror campaign ahead of the elections which we are not even participating in. They are fighting their own and let them not try to bring us into their dirty politics,” he said.

Source : Financial Gazette

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