The groups say their move is in response
to escalated violence in the areas, which they claim intimidates rural
voters from showing up at the polls. The main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change has often accused the ruling ZANU-PF party of using
violence to intimidate its rural partisans. But the government dismisses the
charges and accuses the MDC and civic groups of conniving with Zimbabwe’s
enemies to force a regime change. Gordon Moyo is the executive director of
the Bulawayo project, a non-governmental organization in Zimbabwe’s
commercial capital. He tells reporter Peter Clottey that there is a need to
restore voter confidence in the rural areas.
“The civic organizations together with frontline human rights defenders in
the country. We have rolled out a rural outreach program to go out into the
rural areas, which have been adversely affected by violence and displacement
by ZANU-PF immediately after the March 29 elections. Therefore, the civic
society organizations and front line defenders are saying lets go out to the
rural areas to give confidence to the rural voters to give them information
because there has been a lot of disinformation and misinformation about the
elections run-off,” Moyo pointed out.
He said there is need for the non-governmental groups to encourage rural
voters to take part in the election run-off after the recent escalation of
“We are going out to the rural areas and meeting the key stakeholders there
to show them that those people in the games are not invisible, but they are
ordinary people and they can be challenged when information is available,”
Moyo calls the move to embark on the rural outreach program well intended to
encourage residents to vote.
“We think we are going to impact very positively to the rural communities by
urging them to move forward, and that this is the last mile and that these
are hard times. And we are saying to them, look, the times are difficult.
But that these are not death sentence. They are birth pains. So we are
telling them to move forward and we believe that the people of Zimbabwe have
had enough of the challenges that they are facing. They have had enough of
dictatorship. They’ve had a enough of hunger and starvation, and they would
like to see their country moving forward,” Moyo noted.
He pledged that their outreach program would enlighten the rural voters
ahead of the run-off.
“We believe that this project is going to impact positively. It is going to
make a difference to the lives of the people. It is going to make a
difference to the elections come June 27,” he said.
Moyo described as shocking accusations leveled by the ruling ZANU-PF party
that the non-governmental organizations are agents of the west, working hard
to force a regime change.
“That is a pathological lie. The civic society organizations and NGO’s in
general in Zimbabwe are on the side of the victimized and not on the side of
the political parties. We are frontline human rights defenders. When people
are hungry, we condemn the policies that make people hungry. When people are
brutalized, we condemn the perpetrators. Whichever side perpetrates violence
is condemned. So, it is the guilty that say the civic society is against
them. It is because they are on the guilty side. They are the ones that are
perpetrating violence and civic organizations are against that,” Moyo
Meanwhile, the United Nations human rights commissioner has reportedly
condemned the violence that has gripped Zimbabwe since its March 29 election
and is calling for a full-scale investigation into the killings and attacks.
Louise Arbour says she is shocked and concerned about the brutal attacks
against political activists that opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai claims
have led to more than 50 deaths.
VOAPost published in: News