Increased intimidation ahead of next week’s elections
By Tichaona Sibanda
MDC-T President Morgan Tsvangirai has called on Zimbabweans to repudiate
violence and hatred during and after the upcoming elections, in order to
avoid a repeat of the 2008 mayhem.
The Prime Minister made the call during his rallies in Kotwa and Murehwa,
Mashonaland East province, where he came face to face with voter
intimidation. In Kotwa, vendors and shopkeepers were ordered not to sell
airtime or food to anybody wearing an MDC-T shirt.
His rallies were also poorly attended after ZANU PF supporters went around
the areas, using loud hailers threatening to deal with anyone seen going to
the MDC-T rallies. About 500 ZANU PF youths invaded the venue of Tsvangirai’s
rally at Mutoko centre, scaring away people who had wanted to attend.
Reports say Tsvangirai, however, managed to address small crowds of between
500 and 2,000 at Mutoko centre and in Murehwa, advising supporters to go
ahead and wear the ZANU PF regalia for their safety, but to exercise their
free choice inside the ballot box.
Tsvangirai condemned the actions of the ZANU PF supporters. He told those
who attended his rallies that intimidation and electoral violence has the
potential to undermine and jeopardise the whole process.
He said recent reports of violent events and increasing tensions in the
run-up to the elections are deeply worrying and urged all Zimbabweans ‘to
take the necessary steps to ensure that violence and hatred play no part in
In Mutare on Tuesday, ZANU PF youths were seen running around the city
threatening war or a military coup if President Robert Mugabe doesn’t win
In Chegutu last week a group of MDC youths led by Bento Tshuma was attacked
at Pickstone mine area by ZANU PF activists, leaving at least 17 people
injured. No one has been arrested from ZANU PF.
Earlier this week, a member of ZANU PF was arrested for erasing the
president’s face from campaign hats and selling them for $2 each. The
alleged cottage industry was revealed by the mines minister Obert Mpofu, at
a campaign rally in Bulawayo last Sunday, according to NewsDay, newspaper.
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