This comes less than a week after the three principals to the GPA declared that all party provincial chairmen and secretary generals should hold rallies to preach an end to political violence.
A villager who attended the meeting said Mutasa, Zanu (PF) secretary for administration, threatened them with a repeat of the 2008 election violence if they did not vote for his party at the next election.
“He said we should all claim to be illiterate and ask for assistance from presiding officers who he said will be Zanu (PF) members. He said anyone going into a polling station alone will be presumed to be an MDC supporter and the party will deal with him or her after the elections,” said the villager.
Zimbabwe has one of the highest literacy rates in Africa.
Observers pointed out that ballot papers show the party symbols, which are well recognised by the electorate. So there is actually no need for a voter to be functionally literate in order to vote. They simply need to put their X next to the symbol of the party they want to vote for.
All shops and churches at the centre were forced to close by the youths, who came from Mutare in hired buses belonging to well-known business man and Zanu (PF) central committee member, Isau Mupfumi. “The group ordered the closure of shops and forced villagers to attend the meeting at the Manicaland Development Association training centre.
They appeared to be drunk, and demanded free beer from local bottle store owners,” said a businessman at the centre, who declined to be named for fear of victimisation.
During the meeting, attended by local chiefs and headmen, Mutasa also allegedly called for MDC supporters to be denied farming inputs and grain loan schemes. He claimed these were only meant for President Robert Mugabe’s followers . The meeting was also attended by Zanu (PF) senator for the area, Monica Mutsvangwa, Samuel Undenge and the party’s perennial election loser Munacho Mutezo. Mutasa could not be reached for comment.Post published in: News