Zimbabwean opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party led by Morgan Tsvangirai, has reportedly claimed that President Emmerson Mnangagwa has deployed thousands of soldiers throughout the country's rural areas "in a sinister move to scare villagers into voting the ruling Zanu-PF".
According to New Zimbabwe, the MDC said this as it demanded the demilitarisation of the villages.
"The MDC is deeply concerned by the continued militarisation of villages around the country. We have solid and incontrovertible evidence pointing to the fact that thousands of army officers in civilian attire have been deployed into the countryside for the purposes of carrying out clandestine political campaigns on behalf of Zanu-PF," read part of the statement.
Meanwhile, a NewsDay report quoted former first lady Grace Mugabe's ally – exiled former minister of higher education, Jonathan Moyo – as confirming the MDC's allegation on Twitter.
Moyo, the report said, claimed that Zanu-PF had deployed over 2 000 soldiers across the country to lead its election campaign.
This came as Mnangagwa indicated during his visit to Maputo, Mozambique on Wednesday that Zimbabweans should brace for harmonised elections in the next five months.
A Herald newspaper report quoted Mnangagwa as saying: "Zimbabwe is going for elections in four to five months' time and we have to preach peace, peace and peace because we know it is good for us and we have no doubt that we will have peaceful elections.
"I assure the regional leadership that the forthcoming harmonised polls will embrace the tenets of democracy, fair play and standards set by us in the Sadc."