By Staff Reporter
ZANU PF activists in Manicaland Province are forcing villagers to donate money towards the “Interface with the youth rally” which will be addressed by President Robert Mugabe tomorrow (Friday) at Sakubva Stadium, a local human rights watchdog has said.
In a statement Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) accused the Zanu PF leadership of forcing citizens to attend the rally saying the move was a clear contravention of the Constitution which guarantees freedom of association.
ZPP also raised concern over the alleged call by the party for people to close all business and schools to ensure everyone attends the rally.
“The Zimbabwe Peace Project is disturbed by reports of coercion and unjust enrichment by ruling party activists who are demanding money and intimidating ordinary citizens into attending the upcoming ‘Interface with the youth rally’ to be addressed by President Robert Mugabe at Sakubva Stadium in Mutare.
“The ruling party leadership has allegedly called for the closure of businesses and schools temporarily for people to attend the rally. Informal traders who normally conduct their trading near the stadium have had their vending stalls demolished by local authorities,” said the ZPP statement.
Contrary to the ZPP statement, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week in the National Assembly denied that Zanu PF forces people to attend its rallies adding that whoever is forced should report to the police.
Meanwhile, ZPP has castigated Minister for Manicaland Provincial Affairs Mandy Chimene for her utterances that “even unroadworthy vehicles will be allowed on the road” on the day of the rally saying this was a sign that Zanu Pf is now putting laws in its own hands.
“The Provincial Affairs Minister for Manicaland, Mandiitawepi Chimene, is said to have told a gathering in Mutare that even unroadworthy vehicles will be allowed on the roads for the purposes of ferrying people to the stadium to meet the president. The constitution says in Section 56 that all persons are equal before the law and have the right to equal protection and benefit of the law. The pronouncements by Minister Chimene have the effect of elevating ruling party supporters above the law,” said ZPP.
The human rights group said Zanu PF youths moved around Mutasa Village on the 14th of June demanding money from villagers , while vendors at Watsomba Business Centre were made to pay US$2 each towards the hosting of the rally.
With the elections fast approaching ZPP has implored Zanu Pf to urge its activists particularly the youth to desist from frogmarching people to their rallies adding that President Mugabe should lead by example by preaching tolerance among his party supporters.