LATEST: Turmoil as Faz terrorises villagers ahead of ED Mnangagwa’s rally


A SHADOWY Zanu PF affiliate known as Forever Associates Zimbabwe (FAZ), which is allegedly run by the Central Intelligence Organisation, has been accused of engaging in a door-to-door mobilisation campaign in Mashonaland East province to force villagers to attend a rally to be addressed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in Chivhu today.

Mnangagwa is expected to commission Chivhu Dam, where he will also address villagers near the dam site at Welkom Farm in ward 8, Chikomba district.

Information gathered by NewsDay yesterday showed that the event was largely organised by FAZ members, who are mobilising support for ruling party candidates ahead of the August 23 harmonised elections.

FAZ members went to several villagers’ homes to announce Mnangagwa’s event while threatening those who would fail to attend with unspecified consequences.

Members of the shadowy group are said to have visited villages in Chikomba, Hwedza, Buhera and Gutu districts, where they tasked traditional leaders in the areas to submit a list of attendees at today’s event.

Desperate village heads in the rural areas reportedly threatened their subjects with eviction and deprivation of food aid if they failed to attend as they bowed to pressure from the ruling party.

FAZ also distributed fliers in Chivhu town to mobilise residents to attend the event.

“We had unexpected visitors today (Tuesday),” a headman who preferred anonymity told NewsDay.

“They were here demanding that I should rally my village heads to mobilise people for the President’s event.

They will go. That’s loyalty.”

In a communiqué addressed to traditional leaders seen by NewsDay, village heads were ordered to mobilise their subjects regardless of distance because the ruling party would avail buses to ferry them to the venue.

“All village heads, you are being ordered to mobilise people informing them about the event and you are expected to notify the councillor of the total number of people whom you have mobilised from your own villages,” Zanu PF ward 8 councillor Learnmore Mufamba said in the communiqué.

“This is to enhance planning for the event and to organise transport if need be. Village heads, you are being ordered to assist people with disabilities and the elderly so that they secure sitting places and be able to meet the President.

“The number of people who will be attending should be forwarded to the branch chairman, who should forward it to the district chairman.”

Political analyst Ibbo Mandaza yesterday said FAZ’s tactics could lead to a repeat of the 2008 run-off election violence.

“It’s similar to the pattern adopted for the run-off in 2008,” Mandaza said.

“But this time around, it’s part of pre-election strategy, designed to leave almost nothing to chance, by ‘capturing’ the voter ahead of the election.

“The question is whether this can be sustained successfully without backfiring on election day.

“There is, however, a risk of achieving the opposite result, unless the FAZ agents actually man the ballot boxes, which would be outrageous if possible at all.”

Another analyst Rejoice Ngwenya said the involvement of FAZ was a new campaign tactic for Zanu PF.

“Remember in previous elections, things were tough for the various political organs, but they lacked the scientific approach,” Ngwenya said.

“What I can see here is a new approach in terms of understanding the electoral dynamics at ward level.

“That’s why Zanu PF is using an institution that is affiliated, but independent to experiment various methodologies to win votes.

“The problem comes when there is interference with the electoral law.

“Otherwise, it’s a clarion call for all political parties to find ways to communicate with their constituencies.”

Mnangagwa is facing a tough race for re-election against Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa, whom he narrowly beat in the 2018 disputed elections.

Meanwhile, the CCC has urged its members to attend Zanu PF rallies for their security, but remain opposition.

— NewsDay

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