Gutu Villagers condemned traditional leaders’ unconstitutional political mobilization tactics

Villagers in Gutu west constituency have expressed concern over the efforts by Zanu PF supporters to force villagers to register to vote - warning that those who do not comply will face the consequences of political violence. With memories of the 2008 bloody campaign still fresh in the minds of the villagers, the acts of intimidation have triggered panic in the entire community.

The Zanu PF supporters are also instructing villagers to vote for the ruling party or risk being severely punished. Speaking at a dialogue meeting facilitated by Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development (COTRAD) in Gutu last week, the villagers expressed utmost fear at the volatile political situation in Gutu West Constituency- following the threats from Zanu PF supporters.

The disgruntled villagers disclosed that former Chief Serima,  now Zanu PF ward 5 chairperson, George Chivhande Serima warned of severe punishment for members of opposition parties.  Chivhande reminded local villagers about 2008 political violence. “Chivhande has told us everyone is expected to have a Zanu PF card. He also claims  that supporting opposition parties is like flogging a dead horse. Chivhande also said Zanu PF youths were on the ground and those found on the wrong side would face dire consequences, “said a local youth. COTRAD peace club members in Gutu West Constituency also revealed that Zanu PF councillor for ward 5, Martin Nhamoinesu, was working with traditional leaders and party youths in the constituency to intimidate villagers. “The political situation here is becoming volatile with each passing day. People are being forced by Zanu PF officials and party youths to submit their names and national registration details to village heads,” said one youth.

COTRAD peace club members have strongly condemned violence and undemocratic political mobilization strategies. COTRAD sincerely calls on political parties to conduct their activities in a free and peaceful manner. According to the Constitution, every Zimbabwean Citizen has the right to form, join and participate in the activities of a political party or organisation of his or her choice. Everyone has the right to campaign freely and peacefully for a political party or cause; and to participate, individually or collectively, in gatherings or groups or in any other manner, in peaceful activities to influence, challenge or support the policies of the Government or a political or whatever cause.

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