ESC fails to stop violence in Zengeza by-election

Augustine Mukaro

THE Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC) has failed to end Zanu PF’s crackdown on opposition supporters in the run-up to the Zengeza by-election despite the signing of a multiparty agreeme

nt to stop violence.


The by-election is due on March 27/28. The seat fell vacant in 2002 after MDC MP Tafadzwa Musekiwa went into exile in the United Kingdom and later resigned, claiming that the ruling party was threatening his life.


Four candidates are vying for the post. Zanu PF is represented by longtime cadre Christopher Chigumba, James Makore MDC, Tendai Chakanyuka Nagg, and Gideon Chinogureyi Zanu Ndonga.


Speaking to the Zimbabwe Independent this week, Makore said the ESC had failed to dismantle Zanu PF bases dotted across the constituency resulting in continued harassment of opposition supporters and disruption of campaign activities.


This was despite the signing of an agreement by all parties contesting the seat to conduct themselves peacefully.


“Zanu PF youths are disrupting our rallies and campaign activities in the presence of the police and ESC officials,” Makore said.


“On Thursday the police, the ESC’s Mr Mashereni, together with MDC supporters attending a campaign rally in Unit D, were forced to scurry for cover when Zanu PF youths started throwing stones. The rally had to be called-off to avoid a clash,” he said.


Makore said Zanu PF was involved in door-to-door harassment of opposition supporters.


“With the harassment currently going on there is no way we can talk of a free and fair election,” Makore said.


In a multiparty agreement signed by all the parties contesting the Zengeza by-election last week, police promised to bring to book all perpetrators of violence.


ESC spokesman Thomas Bvuma could not be reached for comment at the time of going to press yesterday.