Traditional leaders, particularly chiefs and headmen, said Zanu PF killed and orchestrated violence against the people in 2008 and was invoking that period to instill fear and intimidate villagers and local communities.
The opinion leaders expressed their lack of trust and faith in the BVR process, saying Zanu PF would use the fingerprints issue to intimidate villagers to say the party would use the fingerprints to see where they had put their vote.
Just as in other provinces, the traditional leaders bemoaned their paltry allowances which were seven months in arrears. They said Zanu PF claimed the allowances were party money when in fact these allowances were State money funded by the taxpayers. “It is not Zanu PF money, and Zanu PF should not misrepresent itself as the State.” President Tsvangirai told the traditional leaders.
The people’s President assured the community leaders that the people’s vote was a secret and it was a lie by Zanu PF that they would be able, through the BVR process, to see where the people had placed their vote.
Fear and intimidation are emerging to be the key issues in Mashonaland East. The community leaders cited names and incidents to explain how fear, coercion and intimidation were the major instruments used by Zanu PF to cow villagers and keep rural communities at ransom.
On alliances, the community leaders said it was important to harness all energies to ensure that Zanu PF is pastured out in 2018.
President Tsvangirai will this afternoon hold a similar meeting with community leaders in Marondera. Tomorrow, he will be in Mutoko and Murehwa, engaging ordinary people on the crisis in the country, the new governance culture post-2018 as well as strategies to ensure that the people’s will is protected.
Presidential Spokesperson and Director of Communications