Soldiers deployed in Matland

soldier_walkingBULAWAYO - Zanu (PF) has deployed heavily armed soldiers in the three southern provinces of Midlands, Matabeleland North and South provinces in a desperate bid to force locals to support the party. (Pictured: Armed soldiers are a common sight on the streets of Zimbabwe)

Highly placed sources in Nkayi and Lupane told The Zimbabwean that Zimbabwe National Army soldiers (ZNA) have now taken over party business in the areas. In Nkayi the soldiers are stationed at Panke lodge while in Lupane they are staying in tents pitched near Lupane State University.

“There are heavily armed soldiers who are staying at Panke lodge in Nkayi. Everyday in the early hours of the morning, they march along the Nkayi/Kwekwe road singing and chanting ant-MDC slogans. Villagers are really afraid of a repeat of the Gukurahundi era,” said a Zimbabwean informant.

He said the soldiers were sometimes seen at the Zanu (PF) district offices. “Each ward in Nkayi has been assigned two soldiers who are being assisted by party youths to harass and force villagers to join the party’s structures. The local youths are the ones who are proving the soldiers with the list of the names of key MDC supporters in the area, said a local who refused to be named.

The MDC Senator for the area, Robert Makhula, said he recently met soldiers travelling in a convoy of five pick-up trucks near Tohwe, about 30 kilometres north of Nkayi. “I spoke to them and they said they are going out to revamp Zanu (PF) structures and deal with people who were in Zanu (PF) but joined the opposition. This sounds like a general intimidation pattern which soldiers will use to harass anyone who does not support Zanu (PF),” said Makhula.

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