‘State security agents terrorise Lupane villagers’

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BULAWAYO Agenda, a civic society group, has said people claiming to be State security agents are intimidating villagers in Lupane, Matabeleland North, for attending their meetings.

NQOBANI NDLOVU
STAFF REPORTER

Bulawayo Agenda director Mmeli Dube said they continued receiving reports of alleged State security agents compiling a list of villagers who frequent their meetings, adding that this had left the latter scared to attend future gatherings fearing the unknown.

“We ask ourselves why those people are not approaching us (Bulawayo Agenda) for calling meetings with villagers to discuss and address issues and problems affecting them,” he said.

“Lupane is a highly politicised area and people are now scared of a political backlash because of their action.”

Bulawayo Agenda has had a brush with State security organs in Matabeleland North on numerous occasions, particularly in Lupane over its activities.

“Our feeling is that this is some kind of stock-taking exercise to find out which political party or civic society group each villager belongs to and maybe to find out whether the ruling party still has the support,” Dube said.

“We feel that they might want to a take a scorched earth strategy to those that are working with the opposition and civic society and suffocate them economically.

“Our relations with State security organs have been frosty and this informs our fears of an ongoing stock-taking exercise to intimidate villagers.”

Lupane Agenda members confirmed being questioned over their involvement with the civic society organisation, but requested anonymity out of fear.

Matabeleland North police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Siphiwe Makonese could not be reached for comment.

Bulawayo Agenda officials last year spent nights in holding cells in Victoria Falls for allegedly conducting public meetings without notifying the cops as required by the law.

Abammeli Human Rights Lawyers condemned their arrest as not only unconstitutional, but also an abuse of authority by the police.