Zanu PF gets going on 2018

Source: Zanu PF gets going on 2018 – DailyNews Live

Fungi Kwaramba      31 March 2017

HARARE – Zanu PF has embarked on its own aggressive door-to-door voter
registration exercise – raising fears that the warring ruling party is
“sharpening” its rigging machinery ahead of next year’s make-or-break
polls.

This comes as opposition parties are ratcheting up their protests against
the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) over the government’s hijacking of
the acquisition process of biometric voter registration (BVR) kits – a
move they also say is another attempt by Zanu PF to rig the 2018
elections.

At the same time, civic groups are reporting an increasing cases of
intimidation and violence, which they claim are being perpetrated by Zanu
PF supporters.

The door-to-door visits which the ruling party is making in Harare and
Chitungwiza, where it is also selling party cards, have spooked the
residents of affected areas – particularly as Zanu PF officials are said
to be recording people’s national identity and mobile phone numbers.

Opposition groups say this “thuggish exercise” is an attempt by Zanu PF to
create a parallel voter registration exercise, which they suspect is being
used as a dry-run for next year’s elections.

But Zanu PF national political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere, told the
Daily News that they were merely gearing up for next year’s elections and
were thus on the ground to ensure that they would prevail in the polls.

“At the moment, the party is in an unassailable position and we are
working hard to ensure that we win all the elections that will come.

“The party is focused and we are soon going to start mobilising as we gear
for the 2018 election. Zanu PF is the only viable party in the country,”
Kasukuwere said.

However, and while Kasukuwere said Zanu PF was leaving no stone unturned
in its push for electoral victory next year, civic groups are reporting
increased cases of violence perpetrated by supporters of the former
liberation movement.

“Zanu PF youths visited Ngaritutwe Bottle Store in (the Harare township
of) Mbare and forced the proprietors to close down the bar, accusing them
of holding MDC meetings at the bar.

“Zanu PF youths have imposed an economic embargo against members of other
political parties in Mbare and are carrying out these activities with
impunity as police officers seem reluctant to deal with the known
perpetrators,” the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) said.

Peace building and monitoring group, Heal Zimbabwe Trust (HZT), also
raised concerns over the conduct of traditional leaders in Guruve South,
where it said opposition supporters were being denied food aid.

“Heal Zimbabwe expresses concern over the conduct of some traditional
leaders in Guruve South constituency who are threatening opposition party
supporters with denial of food aid and eviction from their villages if
they fail to purchase Zanu PF membership cards.

“On March 25, 2017, village head Charles Mukodzani, who also doubles as
Zanu PF chairperson for ward 11, and village head Killer Chigonero
convened a meeting at Nyamhondoro Secondary School.

“At the meeting, the two village heads announced that people were supposed
to purchase Zanu PF membership cards that cost $3 each, if they still
wanted to continue receiving food aid.

“They also announced that if anyone defies the directive, they risked
being evicted from their villages,” HZT said.

The same allegations emerged last month when opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai was concluding his successful tour of Mashonaland East, where
he interacted with traditional leaders.

Speaking to the Daily News then, Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke
Tamborinyoka said the former prime minister during the era of the
stability-inducing government of national unity was gravely concerned by
the “overwhelming information” that the MDC had received, which pointed to
the fact that Zanu PF was “already in the process of stealing next year’s
elections”.

Among some of the “dirty methods” that the ruling party – which is wracked
by its deadly tribal, factional and succession wars – was allegedly using
to rig the 2018 polls, was hijacking the country’s BVR process, as well as
abusing traditional leaders.

“There is a plan by Zanu PF to steal next year’s elections. We have been
on the ground here in Mashonaland East and what we are seeing and hearing
is that Zanu PF wants to steal the next elections again, after they took
over the BVR process, in addition to commandeering chiefs, village heads
and headmen on board this devious scheme.

“However, we will do all that we can to ensure that traditional leaders
are not abused and absorbed into Zanu PF structures? Indeed, the rights of
traditional leaders must and will be observed,” the resolute Tamborinyoka
said.

Traditional chief after traditional chief had apparently told Tsvangirai
during his tour of the restive Mashonaland East province, which is
traditionally a Zanu PF stronghold, that they were being forced to not
only join the ruling party, but to also lead its cells and wards – and to
actively work to help rig next year’s polls.

“The fearful village heads all said they were forced to be chairpersons of
Zanu PF’s cells. That way, Zanu PF will coerce them to frog-march people
to vote for the ruling party.

“So, the sum total of Zanu PF’s ploy is that it is assimilating
traditional leaders into its partisan structures, abusing them in the
process,” Tamborinyoka added.

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