'Chiefs working with the military to intimidate voters ahead of crunch elections'

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THE MDC Alliance has claimed that some chiefs are working with the military to intimidate voters ahead of crunch elections this year.

The alliance is coalition of a handful of opposition parties which are backing MDC-T leader and former prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai for the presidency.

Morgan Komichi, a senior coalition official, claimed that traditional leaders, particularly in Bikita, Masvingo, were forcing those who had registered to vote to pass on the serial numbers of their voter registration certificates with them for onward transmission to the military.

“This is serious intimidation and not accepted at all. We urge people to reject the orders from these unreasonable sabhukus (headmen). The times of violence and intimidation went away with Mugabe,” Komichi said in a statement this week.

He urged people to report any forms of political abuse to the police. The alliance has also raised the issue with the Zanu PF Political Commissar, Engelbert Rugeje who was a senior Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) officer until last month.

“I urge you to report any form of political violence and any form of political abuses taking place especially in the rural areas,” said Komichi.

“President Mnangagwa should pass the test of democracy. He has promised Zimbabweans free and fair elections in 2018.”

The Zimbabwean military faces charges of involvement in violent election campaigns for the ruling Zanu PF party and is been blamed for the bloodshed which occurred in the run-up to the June 2008 Presidential election run-off.

The MDC-T says dozens of its supporters killed, hundreds left with life-changing injuries and many others displaced from their homes.

Command Generals have in the past publicly declared their allegiance to the ruling party and vowed never to salute anyone with no liberation war credentials.

Recently, President Emmerson Mnangagwa appointed three senior army generals to his cabinet after a military assisted power transfer saw him topple his erstwhile boss of 37 years, Robert Mugabe.

– New Zimbabwe


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