Radio VOP’s correspondents in Masvingo and Nyanga reported that the party had deployed youths at the bases which were being used to intimidate villagers.
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) provincial director for elections and legislator for Masvingo Central constituency Jefferyson Chitando said his party was aware of the bases. “We are aware that some youths are already being sponsored by Zanu PF so that they terrorise villagers thereby trying to manipulate the people so that they will be afraid to freely contribute in any democratic process which might want their input.”
“We have been informed of the latest developments but we urge Zanu PF that it will not manage to win the people by intimidating them. Zanu PF is scaring people away by trying to have militia bases in every district,” said Chitando.
Masvingo West constituency legislator Tichaona Mharadze said: “Zanu PF has set a base in my constituency at Mushandike. Soldiers are also seen at the base training the youths. The people in my area are not very sure of what will happen to them.”
In Mwenezi, all people thought to have MDC-T links were being ordered to surrender their party regalia and membership cards “while time still permits”.
“Its like we are approaching an election again, we are not very sure of what is actually going on because there is a base near Maranda where some youths are camping. Soldiers who were urging villagers to adopt the Kariba draft constitution are still in the area,” said Givemore Vandirai.
Zimbabwe is set to embark on a constitutional making process. A Parliamentary select team will go round the country to seek people’s views on a new constitution for the country. Zimbabweans are being asked to add to the Kariba draft constitution which was adopted by Zanu PF and the two MDC formations, who are the three principals of the Global Politcal Agreement (GPA) which brought about the new unity government.
However there have been reports that Zanu PF has been co-ercing people to accept the Kariba draft as it is.
Zanu PF provincial chairman Lovemore Matuke dismissed claims that his party had set up militia bases. “They are crying babies… they have been always like that, it is their way of trying to blackmail Zanu PF because they are aware Zanu PF will never again lose an election in rural areas.”
In Nyanga Zanu PF militia bases were said to have re-emerged in Nyanga North and Makoni district with armed personnel threatening villagers with death if they refuse to support the Kariba Draft.
MDC Nyanga North legislator, who is also the parliament constitution select committee co-chair, Douglas Mwonzora, told journalists at the weekend that he had witnessed militia bases in his constituency.
“I have personally seen the militia bases in my constituency and have told the police to dismantle them. I have also engaged the principals in the Global Political Agreement that that they should make sure that the bases should be dismantled with immediate effect. We have also discovered that there are armed people who have established bases in Makoni district.
“As the parliament constitution select committee co-chair I am worried by these sad developments in the country. We are saying people’s opinions should not be manipulated at this crucial process, “said Mwonzora.
Meanwhile in Masvingo ugly scenes of violence took center stage at the war veterans elections held Sunday, leaving scores injured.
The bloody elections, which saw ‘little known’ Isaac Gonese trouncing Zanu PF women’s league chairlady, Shylet Uyoyo, were held at Chiefs
Hall in the high density suburb of Mucheke. Gonese polled 142 votes, against Uyoyo’s 45, making himself the candidate to contest for a national post at the war veterans congress slated for next Saturday.
Radio VOP witnessed Uyoyo disrupting the process, throwing the ballot box at the face of Tranos Huruva, the returning officer.
“The elections are null and void. You rigged the vote, because he (Gonese) is from your faction,” said Uyoyo singing revolutionary songs.