Zanu PF and Zapu supporters here clashed last weekend over registration slips, with the latter disrupting the ruling party’s meeting at Zhokwe village.
The Zapu supporters accused Zanu PF officials in the district of allegedly forcing villagers to bring their voter registration slips for them to be eligible to receive food aid.
This comes amid outcry from opposition parties over continued intimidation of voters by Zanu PF officials, who of late have been accused of demanding registration slips’ serial numbers from would-be voters.
Southern News understands that the meeting had been called by village head Roger Ndlovu with the agenda to inform his subjects about the need to register for them to get food aid.
However, that was before Zanu PF officials, led by area commissar Pharaoh Nyaliwa Ndlovu, highjacked the meeting and started giving instructions that only those who brought voter registration slips would be eligible.
This, however, did not go down well with some Zapu officials that were part of the meeting, who — led by one John Dube — immediately forced the meeting to adjourn arguing the ruling party had no right to demand the registration slips.
Zanu PF’s Nyaliwa Ndlovu shifted the blame to the party’s local secretary in the area identified as Grace Vumani.
“I was only called to the meeting where I was told by Vumani to bring my BVR (biometric voter registration) slip for it was a requirement to register for food aid. I did and gave it to her at the meeting.
“Chaos started when John Dube challenged the slips issue and his Zapu colleagues joined in. They disrupted the meeting and it was closed,” Ndlovu told Southern News.
Village headman Ndlovu confirmed the development, saying he had to adjourn the meeting following the skirmishes.
”Yes, we had a meeting that was disrupted by members of Zapu and other people who were disrespectful. They refused to surrender their BVR registration slips and there was chaos. The registration slips were a requirement for residents to register for food aid. I failed to hold the meeting and had to close the meeting,” said Ndlovu.
Zapu deputy national organising secretary Ndodana Moyo confirmed the stand-off between the two parties saying the party had to intervene to protect its members.
“It is true we have such a problem in Gwanda Central. What surprises us as Zapu that President Mnangagwa pronounced to the nation and international community that his government will ensure free and fair election yet his party is antagonising our people especially in rural areas where intimidation by Zanu PF is rampant,” Moyo said.
“It is against the spirit of free and fair elections as provided for by the Constitution. However, this time around Zanu PF will not have it easy as they are used to run over the MDCs. Zapu matches them man-to-man and we will never have their nonsense. Our Zipra veterans are already on the ground to protect all citizens.”