Building Torched in Marondera Violence

Macundera, Zimbabwe - Despite official denials, political violence continued in the early hours of Saturday last week, when a building at the United Methodist Church, was torched by suspected Zanu PF supporters.

Ian Kay, the MDC candidate for Marondera East, provided assistance when the building was constructed.

Kay is challenging the Minister of Defence, Sydney Sekeramayi, on 31 March in the battle to represent the constituency in Parliament.

Residents from Mupazviriho village alleged that Zanu PF supporters were not happy that locals were worshiping at a church built with the assistance of an MDC official and particularly a white one.

In addition, the villagers said the church's links to retired Bishop Abel Muzorewa was being used by Zanu PF supporters as an excuse to harass the church congregation

Muzorewa is a retired Bishop of the United Methodist Church and was a political foe of President Robert Mugabe, particularly during the first decade of independence. He led the United African National Congress (UANC).

A house used as a kitchen by the head of the congregation, Pastor Nyasha Kazembe, had its roof gutted by fire. Kazembe, who was away on business has not returned to his flock amid reports that he now fears for his life.

Munorwei Mubvuma, an eyewitness, said the church had on numerous occasions been linked to the opposition MDC because of the assistance it received from Kay.

He said on Saturday last week, Pastor Kazembe asked him to guard the church in his absence.

In the early hours of Sunday morning, he heard voices, calling for the priest to come out. He did not respond as he did not recognise the voices outside. He only went outside to investigate after he saw the kitchen on fire.

A few yards from the church, a house belonging to, Isaac Mupazviriho, also caught fire."

Rosemary Katutu, who was sleeping in the second house told The Standard that she was fast asleep when the house was torched. "The three of us managed to salvage a few belongings before the roof collapsed,"she said.