ZANU PF and its affiliate Forever Associates Zimbabwe (FAZ) have allegedly threatened to clamp down on Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) supporters in an attempt to foil the opposition party’s planned mass protests over last week’s disputed poll results.
The opposition party has threatened to roll out a 30-day campaign starting today to force a rerun of the polls.
CCC spokesperson, Promise Mkwananzi, yesterday said the party had received several reports of its supporters being trailed and threatened by FAZ members.
Results of elections held last week revealed that the CCC had made inroads into traditional Zanu PF strongholds, threatening the ruling party’s support base.
“They are all over the place targeting our members and supporters. Some of them (CCC supporters) have gone into hiding,” Mkwananzi told NewsDay yesterday.
“Zanu PF must abstain from violence and other extra-judicial operations that are meant to harm or kill CCC supporters. CCC is a legal and leading party in Zimbabwe.”
Muzarabani South CCC losing candidate Wellington Gweru claimed that he went into hiding after being targeted by Zanu PF and FAZ members.
“I am worried about my polling agents, family, supporters, friends and relatives whom I think are targeted. I am failing to account for one agent,” he said.
Gweru said the harassment and intimidation started before the election.
“I was attacked at Goromokwa Farm on my way to a polling station by agents known as Mandi and Rwodzi,” he said.
“They tracked me everywhere and they attacked my car. I made a police report at Centenary Police Station under RRB 549762. I also failed to transport food to my election agents on polling day.”
A WhatsApp audio listened to by NewsDay exposed suspected Zanu PF supporters planning retribution after losing the Seke constituency.
“They pretend to be with Zanu PF, but they vote opposition, we should fish them out,” a Zanu PF activist is heard on the audio saying.
There are also reports of CCC supporters who have gone into hiding in Zaka, Bikita, Umguza and Sanyati, among other areas.
The rise in cases of political violence against CCC supporters comes as the Masvingo Centre for Research, Advocacy and Development (Macrad) said this week that victims in Chiredzi district have reportedly skipped the border.
“For the first time after independence, ward 6 in Chiredzi South was won by an opposition councillor. The ruling party structures in Chiredzi South are breathing fire and promising violence to all those who were behind the opposition councillor. This also resulted in most indigenous Shangaan youth migrating to South Africa, afraid of being victimised, as some are still nursing wounds and some have lost their homes to fire,” Macrad said.
It said Vutisani Mushinyi, the chairperson of the Chilonga irrigation scheme, had also skipped the border before the August 23 and 24 harmonised elections.
Zanu PF acting information director, Farai Marapira, however, dismissed the CCC claims.
“Our President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been calling for peace and any violence should be condemned in the strongest terms,” Marapira said when contacted for comment.
“The election period has largely been peaceful, and the ruling party wants to maintain that.”
The CCC has refused to accept election results citing several irregularities and intimidation of voters.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) delayed delivering ballot papers in Bulawayo and Harare in what the CCC said was a strategy to frustrate its supporters.
Election observer missions have condemned the elections, but Zanu PF and government allege bias by the former.
The CCC is now plotting protests beginning today to force a fresh election supervised by the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) and African Union (AU).
Mkwananzi told NewsDay that the party was engaging regional bodies in a multi-pronged strategy including protests to challenge the results.
“The rest is up to the citizens to ensure that they put pressure on the government to respect their vote,” Mkwananzi said.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, however warned citizens against participating in the planned protests.
“The law is very clear, anyone who wants to do any form of political gathering should get clearance from the police and this is clear in terms of the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act, anyone who contravenes the law should be able to face the consequences,” Nyathi said.
On Wednesday, Nyathi warned against “illegal gatherings”.
“The police have taken note of offensive messages circulating on social media platforms openly agitating for violence and illegal gatherings, especially in Harare and Bulawayo,” Nyathi said in his statement.
Speaking at a discussion titled Sadc and Solving Post-Election Conflict organised on X, formerly Twitter, citizens expressed mixed opinions about the planned post-election protests.
“If Mnangagwa wants to continue illegitimately, he must know he will be putting himself on fire,” CCC activist Nimrod Zivhu, said during the discussion.
Another participant, Bernard Muchemwa said the protests were likely to cause serious unrest.
“Every time the opposition cries of rigging, it fails to prove that. If Zanu PF supporters also go onto the streets, there will be a dog-eat-dog situation,” Muchemwa said.
In 2018, six civilians were killed in post-election protests.