SUSPECTED Zanu PF supporters have unleashed violence against aspiring Chegutu East legislator, Gabriel Mandere and his Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) campaign team.
The ruling party activists are accused of beating up opposition party members and tearing CCC posters for Mandere and those of ward councillor candidates across the rural constituency.
Speaking to NewZimbabwe, Mandere said CCC was paying the price for daring to invade Zanu PF deputy national commissar, Webster Shamu’s territory, which the opposition has repeatedly failed to win.
The youthful aspirant says Shamu is panicking after realising CCC had fielded a formidable candidate receiving warm support from the previous Zanu PF strongholds such as Chambara area.
He lamented the deteriorating security situation in the constituency where numerous assault and arson cases have been reported to police.
“One of our CCC Change Champions, Cleopas Bhero was severely assaulted in Ward 11 by known Zanu PF members and a police report was made, but no arrest was effected.
“In Ward 23, Zanu PF activists whom we know by name and where they live are also intimidating people to vote for Zanu PF,” alleged Mandere.
Aspiring CCC Ward 17 Councillor, Tavaziva Dhambu was also reportedly assaulted around 6 pm by a Zanu PF thug, who went on to torch CCC campaign posters, including Mandere’s, before threatening to burn his house.
A police report was made on July 28, 2023 by the victim and recorded under CR214/7/23.
Despite the violence and lawlessness, Mandere says he is determined to win the parliamentary seat, which has been in Zanu PF’s hands since independence in 1980.
He has embarked on door-to-door campaigns dishing out fliers to educate voters “against oppression, failures and empty promises that were made by Zanu PF.”
“For 43 years Zanu PF has been lying to the electorate. The constituency is still underdeveloped while old and tired Shamu has the guts to ask for another term in Parliament,” said Mandere.
“The constituency is characterised by poor roads, shortage of schools, no clean water supply, few clinics while farming production declined due to lack of government assistance with some irrigations schemes having stopped operating, farming inputs are corruptly distributed to few Zanu PF loyalists,” said Mandere.
Shamu is said to have recently addressed supporters at Mukute village and instructed them to remove CCC posters replacing them with his posters. He is also intimidating CCC supporters in wards 11, 23 and 29.
Efforts to get a comment from Shamu were fruitless by the time of publishing.