ZANU PF youth league leader and Gutu South National Assembly aspiring candidate, Pupurai Togarepi (54) stands accused of intimidating and threatening villagers in the constituency whom he suspects of not supporting him.
The allegations, made by villagers, were also corroborated by MDC Alliance candidate for Gutu South, Erium Musendekwa, who said Zanu PF activists also threatened villagers against attending a rally he organised at Pengaudzoke business centre over the weekend.
“Togarepi comes every week teaming up with different youths who are not from here. This frightens us. He also told us that he will go door-to-door dealing with suspected opposition supporters if he loses,” Christopher Guva, a villager, said.
Another villager alleged that they were threatened with exclusion from food handouts and other government initiatives like the food-for-work programmes.
However, Togarepi denied the accusations and challenged the complainants to report the matter to the police. “These are false reports by people who know they will be defeated in the elections. My party and President Emmerson Mnangagwa is preaching peace. If there are people who feel threatened, they should go to the police,” he said.
But Musendekwa insisted that the villagers were now leaving in fear following the threats.
“I was told Zanu PF supporters were saying they will write down names of those who attend my rallies before dealing with them. For villagers who are still haunted by violence in previous elections, this is no laughing matter. I am happy the European Union (EU) observers are here and I have raised the issue with them,” Musendekwa said.
Gutu South has been a hotbed of political violence with scores of MDC supporters in the area killed by suspected Zanu PF militia in the 2008 presidential election run-off.