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Zimbabwe Political Violence Takes On New Forms, Including Poisoning

Political violence continues unabated in Zimbabwe with perpetrators shifting their tactics to include forcing their victims, mainly opposition members, to drink poison.

A mother and her son were battling for their lives this week at a hospital in Harare after they were force-fed poisoned by ruling ZANU-PF party militia in Chiweshe, Mashonaland Central province, in an incident in which three other people died, as Sylvia Manika reported.

Sources in Midlands province said new torture camps have been set up by pro-government militia in the Gokwe-Kabuyuni constituency where member of parliament-elect Costain Muguti and about 30 others were abducted and severely beaten by the militia on the weekend.

Zimbabwe Peace Project Chairman Alois Chaumba, who is also national director of the Catholic Commission for Peace and Justice, told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that the pattern of violence shows ZANU-PF wants to silence the opposition by all means possible.

In Manicaland province, spokesman Pishai Muchauraya of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change said the militia are establishing more base camps there too. He said the liberation war veterans working alongside the militia have set up kangaroo courts in bases to try opposition activists and sentence them to community service, in certain cases working on an irrigation project in Gonzoni, Chimanimani West constituency, and repairing roads.

Sources in Matabeleland North province said Pearson Mbalekwa, parliamentarian-elect for Zvishavane, and 15 others continue in detention in Hwange accused of inciting violence.

More news from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...