Chimanimani residents forced to sign ZPF list to get food

Supporters of the MDC in Chimanimani West, who bought ZANU PF cards earlier this year in order to get seeds and fertilizer, were thrilled on Sunday when these items finally arrived from Cashel Valley. But there was one more stipulation.

The desperate villagers were told to add their names onto a list of people expected to claim disability in the next election, so they can be assisted in the polling booth. Anyone who fails to do this “will be dealt with worse than 2008,” was the threat made, according to witnesses.

The MDC-T has said over 500 members and activists were killed during a ZANU PF sponsored wave of violence that followed their defeat in the March 2008 elections. References to that period are still being used by ZANU PF in order to scare potential opposition voters.

Local activist Peter Chogura told SW Radio Africa that Sunday’s distribution of seeds and fertilizer was organized and managed by a former ZANU PF councilor named Lucky Hlukuzo and Army Major Charles Muresherwa. Uniformed soldiers were also present at Ndaga Business Centre, Ward 19.

The seeds and fertilizer are supposed to be handed out to all local residents in need, regardless of what political party they support. According to Chogura, ZANU PF is trying to ensure they get some votes from the food they give out, by forcing MDC supporters to claim they need ‘help’ in the booth.

“Vanototaura zvema statistics,” Chogura said, meaning: “they even speak of statistics.” According to the activist, lists of MDC supporters who claim to have switched loyalties are being compiled in other constituencies around the country.

The Mugabe regime has always used food as a political weapon, but this new strategy puts added pressure on those who buy party cards to survive and protect their families. It also denies them their right to vote in a private space. – SW Radio Africa News

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