The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) says ZANU PF has been forcing villagers to attend its meetings ahead of by-elections set to be held on 26 March this year.
In its January monthly monitoring report released on Sunday, ZPP said ZANU PF perpetrated 27% of cases of political violence that were recorded in January.
The MDC-T/MDC Alliance led by Douglas Mwonzora is said to be responsible for 1.03 % of the cases recorded. Part of the ZPP report read:
In January, ZANU PF local leaders forced villagers to attend the party’s meetings ahead of primary elections to select ZANU PF candidates to contest in the March 26 by-elections.
ZANU PF ward and district leaders used the same methods of harassment, intimidation and assault.
The party has for long abused its influence in government to manipulate aid distribution processes to deny aid to deserving beneficiaries who do not support it.
As the party drew towards the primary elections, it held several meetings in the respective wards and constituencies to mobilise those who were to choose the party’s candidates for the March 26 by-elections.
ZANU PF is also accused of using government farming inputs to buy votes, while opposition supporters were being denied the inputs.
In one of the incidents reported by ZPP, on 16 January 2021, at Siyawamwaya business centre in Murehwa North constituency, Munyaradzi Munetsi, a ZANU PF activist allegedly threatened villagers with violence if the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) won the Ward 8 council seat. The ZPP report reads:
ZANU PF once again used its coercive methods to mobilise people, and during the meetings, officials threatened attendees, especially in rural areas, that if they failed to vote for ZANU PF, they would be removed from social welfare and agricultural input lists of beneficiaries.
This happened under circumstances where those who chose not to support ZANU PF in the past had been denied agricultural input support under the government’s Pfumvudza agricultural inputs scheme.
However, ZANU PF spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa dismissed the ZPP report as misleading. He said:
The police are there. ZPP should go and report to the police. ZPP is just pining to be in the news as persecutors of ZANU PF.