Zanu PF officials launch intimidation campaign
By Thelma Chikwanha,
HARARE – Senior Zanu PF officials keen on winning back the crucial rural
vote which the party lost to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC during
the last election have launched a campaign to intimidate villagers in
Mashonaland East province.
A senior party member (name supplied) is said to have visited Mudzi early
this month and forced residents to attend a Zanu PF rally where they were
made to sign up as party members ahead of the next election.
Terrified residents who still have physical and emotional wounds from the
violence that erupted soon after the 2008 harmonised elections told the
Daily News that they were now on high alert after the party official
informed them elections would be held in March this year.
The election date is yet to be announced but President Robert Mugabe and his
Zanu PF party are keen to hold elections this year.
Other coalition government partners say elections are impossible this year
given the slow pace of democratic reforms.
In March last year, Sadc urged government to create an enabling environment
for political participation but violence and intimidation are still being
experienced in some parts of the country particularly in rural areas where
Zanu PF is battling to retain popular support.
Villagers who spoke to the Daily News said: “He ( party official whose name
is being withheld) came here and held a meeting in Dendera village on the
7th of January (2012). He told us that there are going to be elections in
March and that the party wanted to register all its members.”
Paul (not real name) who was a victim of the 2008 violence said Zanu PF was
using terror, violence and intimidation as an election strategy.
“We are now living in fear, at the last meeting Zanu PF youths composed a
song; Chenjera Chenjera pusa tichaona kana tapedza kuvhota, zvemubhadha
takapedza tirikuuya nepfuti. (Beware if you do not take heed and vote
wisely, we are coming after you with rifles and not sticks this time
around),” Paul narrated to the Daily News.
He narrated harrowing details of the brutality he suffered at the hands of
known Zanu PF members.
The resident said he was abducted by a group of Zanu PF youths who took him
to a base in Madzivanhanga where he was tortured.
“They took me to a river behind Madzivanhanga dam where they dug a hole and
buried my head in it,” Paul said.
“They started beating me up with hands, sticks and booted feet my buttocks
were swollen. When I stopped making any movements because of the pain, they
thought I was dead and left.”
The Daily News also established that Zanu PF held three meetings in the
province between the 7th and 12th of January 2012.
Villagers were threatened with unspecified action if they failed to attend
Villagers told the Daily News that a known war veteran in the area said:
Mukaita zvamakaita 2008 unotiona.
Taikuudzai kuti kumashure kwemaelections kune zviriko taka nyepa here?
Hamuna kuzoona mibhadha ichiuya here?
(If you repeat what you did in 2008 you will bear the consequences. We told
you that after elections there will be repercussions. Did you not experience
them? Did you not see the logs coming?)”
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