Bikita poll: Villagers tell horror stories

BIKITA - Villagers in Bikita who spoke to the Daily News on Sunday yesterday recounted horror stories of thuggery and intimidation by Zanu PF apparatchiks.

They said the sum total of the anti-democratic behaviour was to force them, as allegedly directed “from above”, to vote for the ruling party.

Many of the visibly-shaken villagers said they had ended up duly voting for Zanu PF, fearing that they would be dealt with ruthlessly if they disobeyed the “chefs” (Zanu PF bigwigs).

It was also claimed that some traditional leaders had either willingly, or under duress, also participated in the thuggery, amid allegations that many people had been told that they were being closely monitored even when they were in voting booths.

This was confirmed by Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) interim chairperson for Masvingo, Claudius Makova, who said regardless of the fact that on the actual voting day there was “a semblance of tranquillity”, the by-election could not be viewed as “free, fair and credible by any stretch of the imagination”.

“We know that there are some village heads who are acting as Zanu PF political commissars. One of the biggest culprits is village head Musavengana who told his subjects that they must vote for Zanu PF.

“They intimidate people and are introducing other mechanisms to rig this election. This must stop for the good of the nation,” Makova told the Daily News On Sunday.

Peace civic group, Heal Zimbabwe Trust (HZT), also noted “multiple” electoral malpractices in the run up to yesterday’s voting.

“Heal Zimbabwe is greatly concerned with the escalation of intimidation, forced attendance and unfair food aid and vote buying in Bikita West.

“The organisation views the escalation of human rights violations in Bikita West as a hindrance to the conducting of free and fair elections and limits the free participation of the voters,” its director, Rashid Mahiya, said.

“Heal Zimbabwe notes that the participation of village heads and the coercion of villagers to attend political gatherings is a grave and serious violation of the Constitution which provides for political rights where citizens should be free to participate, form or join political parties of their choice,” he added.

A local villager, who was on his way to vote at Maregere Shopping Centre yesterday, claimed in an interview with the Daily News on Sunday that they had been given Zanu PF membership cards on Thursday, in addition to being forced to fill “special” forms ahead of voting.

“They told us that they will know everyone’s vote through the forms. Village heads were also threatened by Zanu PF and were told that they must make sure that the ruling party wins,” the terrified voter said.

Comments (8)

ZANU will not go quietly. Therefore we have to forget about looking forward to 2018. There has to be a plan B. Otherwise we are truly cooked.

Dunlop Munjanja - 22 January 2017

I thought Zim PF had counter-plans for this well known bullish and thiggish behaviour by Zanu PF? This is why MDC-T is not participating in these sham elections, especially in the rurals - the rural folk are literally at the mercy of these vampires.

Sagitarr - 23 January 2017

It`s even useless to into election in 2018...

K DK - 23 January 2017

rurals are known zanu pf strongholds because that party has given the voters something tangible to hold on to, ie the land and inputs support schemes. to wrest these from the party is a herculean task for the local opposition. the process of disabusing political activists from the culture of denial still needs to permeate further because, in Africa, an election is not fair unless a ruling party loses. pity.

sambulo vuma - 23 January 2017

Now what does zec say about all these allegations ?Can we take this organisation serious ?All in all i think it is idiot for any one to say was forced to vote for zanu . These days we have advanced technology with smart phones sure these people could have told the world of their horror before elections 0f the 15 000 voters surely they are some with smart phones which can said msg to the whole world in a split of a second so all what they are saying is nonsense . Sane adults can not be easily threatened like pikininis no way mhani they are lying they like zanu for the reasons known to them only

Diibulaanyika - 23 January 2017

The outgoing Gambian President only moved to leave office after he saw Senegalese troops massing on the border ready to deal with him and his cronies. Without the use of force Mugabe and ZanuPf will not leave office. MDC is right in boycotting the elections- there is no point in participating in an election where innocent civilian will be butchered to death. Mugabe will not hesitate to wipe out millions in order to maintain his lavish lifestyle. What can the opposition do? We have no oil so the US and their allies will not help. The best strategy is to go back kuchinyakare chedu. Smith was once a formidable opponent but vadzimu vakamuchipisa. We all know the liberation war was led by the ancestors so Mujuru, Morgan or others should go back to the ancestors and ask help to remove Mugabe- without that Mugabe will die in office. From what I have heard Mai Mujuru had started the process of engaging "nevakuru venyika" but she developed cold feet midway through the process. That is our only salvation. Without going back to the ancestors, mark my words there is no need for an election, Mugabe akatsika chihombe.

Hondo - 23 January 2017

The only way is to hit back if hit by zanu and if it is the only way of winning elections which it is as zanu has benefited from that method in all elections . As of god he will only help those who help themselves so are the ancestors and the rest of the world will only help those who are helping themselves remove the yoke of oppression

Diibulaanyika - 23 January 2017

Even the voting totals are cooked. ZANU does this to justify higher than usual numbers in the rural areas vs urban centres. It's deliberate. ZANU is not good at running a country, they're best at manipulating us.

Moe Syslack - 23 January 2017

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