By Daniel Chigundu
ZIMBABWE Electoral Commission (ZEC) has been called upon to stamp its authority and take action against Zanu PF for allegedly force-marching people to its Marondera and Mutare youth rallies dubbed “President Youth Interface Rally”.
Zanu PF is reported to have forced people, including school children in Marondera and Mutare to shut schools and their business so that they can attend the rallies.
In statement MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said ZEC must flex its constitutionally given muscle and stop Zanu PF from frog-marching people to attend its rallies against their consent.
“The MDC would like to call upon the ZEC to immediately take action to ensure that people are not forced and commandeered to attend these Zanu PF political rallies. This state of affairs doesn’t bode well for the holding of free and fair elections in 2018.
“The people of Zimbabwe are still being intimidated and threatened with death and/or some other such grievous consequences if they refuse to attend these Zanu PF rallies that are being addressed by Mugabe countrywide. There is a pervading atmosphere of fear that is still being felt throughout the country as the toiling masses of Zimbabwe are being driven like lambs to the slaughter, to attend Zanu PF rallies.
“As we approach the 2018 elections, ZEC should exercise its constitutional authority to ensure that no political party, including the ruling Zanu PF party, is allowed to force and commandeer people to attend its rallies and other meetings,” Gutu said.
Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is on record telling the National Assembly that Zanu PF does not force people to attend its rallies and that if there is anyone who has been forced is free to approach the courts.
However, Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs Mandy Chimene was last week quoted in the media saying every business should close and that every road should lead to Sakubva Stadium for the Zanu PF rally.
The MDC-T spokesperson added that the atmosphere is already becoming difficult to hold free and fair elections in 2018 and that AU and SADC cannot afford to fold their hands and watch without taking action.
“How can a free and fair election be held in an atmosphere of extreme fear and intimidation? We also call upon SADC and the AU to take note of the continuing and unchecked behaviour of the Zanu PF regime that ashamedly forces and commandeers innocent and defenceless Zimbabweans to attend its political rallies.
“This rabid and terrorist regime is harvesting from fear and of course, this is a grim indicator of the fact that this regime is reluctant to reform itself in order to allow for the holding of a credible plebiscite next year,” he said.
According to Gutu, the MDC remains confident that it will easily roam to victory in next year’s elections.