Civil society groups have accused Zanu PF of intimidating opposition supporters in Chimanimani West and denying them State-funded food hand-outs ahead of Saturday’s by-election.
Source: Pressure mounts on Zanu PF over partisan distribution of aid – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 23, 2016
BY REJOICE CHINGWARU
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) alleged food and farming inputs were being distributed in a partisan manner in a bid to secure an electoral victory for the Zanu PF candidate, Nokuthula Matsikenyere.
Matsikenyere is facing competition from independent candidate, Edwin Mtetwa in a constituency, which has been shifting from the opposition to ruling party and vice-versa since 2000.
Pesanai Musakanuka of the National Constitutional Assembly and Peter Gudyanga of Renewal of Democtrats of Zimbabwe are also vying for the seat, which fell vacant when Zanu PF expelled Munacho Mutezo for supporting former Vice-President Joice Mujuru.
“Zesn notes that under section 77 (b) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, it is the State’s duty to provide food for all those in need and, therefore, calls upon the government to ensure that all citizens irrespective of political affiliation have access to food aid,” it said in statement.
The electoral watchdog was also concerned about reports that some traditional leaders were openly campaigning for Zanu PF and forcing people to attend Matsikenyere’s rallies.
The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) also alleged that the presence of many soldiers and police officers was intimidating villagers.
“Zimbabwe National Army and Zimbabwe Republic Police members have been spotted driving around Chimanimani West and their presence has increased over the past two weeks, which is intimidating and curtails the activities of the contesting candidates, as their meetings are disrupted,” ZPP said.
Heal Zimbabwe Trust said it was worrying that unorthodox means could be used by the ruling party in a bid to win the election, while in the process violating the people’s right to vote peacefully.