By Criswell Chisango
Karoi, July 17, 2013 – Veterans of Zimbabwe’s independence war aligned to President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party have demanded financial donations from vegetable vendors here while the former ruling party’s youths coerced residents to attend a Zanu PF rally.
According to some disgruntled vegetable vendors at Chikangwe bus terminus, the war veterans reportedly circulated a paper requesting “financial assistance” to ferry party supporters to Chinhoyi on Thursday to attend a Zanu PF rally scheduled to be addressed by President Robert Mugabe in the provincial capital of Mashonaland West province.
One vendor who only identified herself as Mai Chipo protested to Radio VOP that vendors were battling to make ends meet while war veterans wanted to be “spoon fed financially”.
“We do not owe war veterans anything and they are making this as a threat so they will target us through violence. When Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai came to Magunje last week, no one came to us with a begging bowl. People attended the rally on their own volition,” said Mai Chipo.
There was no immediate response from Hurungwe district chairman only identified as Makayi on whether his party had authorised the former liberation war fighters to seek donations from vendors.
However, some young women, the bulk of whom are commercial sex workers, told Radio VOP that they were being coerced to attend Mugabe’s rally.
“We are going to the rally due to fear. We fear that the youths may target us in nightclubs. We accepted the party regalia as part of security against these youths”, said one commercial sex worker who refused to be named for fear of victimisation.
Mugabe addressed his party supporters in Chinhoyi Thursday to drum up support for his party ahead of the 31 July harmonised elections, where his party’s dominant in the country’s politics since 1980 faces another test from Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party.