WITH just a week to go before crucial general elections on Wednesday, militant Zanu PF youth groups are tearing down and destroying rival political parties’ fliers and posters in some parts of the country, Zimbabwe Independent can reveal.
Campaign posters and fliers for the MDC formations led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Professor Welshman Ncube are hardly visible along the Harare/Mutare road. Tsvangirai’s posters are few and far between in Mutare’s suburbs, like Sakubva, Chikanga, Dangamvura and Yeoville.
In an interview, MDC-T Makoni South aspiring candidate Muchauraya Pishai said to avoid violent clashes with Zanu PF youths, his party had now resolved to halting putting up posters after most of its campaign material was destroyed.
“Zanu PF has been removing our posters. They have gone as far as plastering their posters on my billboard at our MDC-T offices here in Nyazura. We had painted Christmas Pass red but if you play a game with people who do not follow rules then you will have problems like what we are going through,” he said.
“So we agreed that we will suspend putting up our posters. Zanu PF supporters are even going as far as plastering Mugabe’s posters on people’s private vehicles and combis without their consent and they have dared them to remove the posters. People will not do anything because they are still afraid of the violence that was unleashed on them in 2008.”
Pishai said although Mugabe has told his supporters to allow other parties to freely display their party loyalty and regalia during election campaigning, a common practise in other countries, there is now burgeoning fear because Zimbabwe’s elections have been marred by violence and alleged vote rigging since 2000, mainly by Zanu PF.
“There is no open violence that we can talk of but there is subtle intimidation. There are these twin-cabs with menacing looking people that just drive around and they look at party supporters with an intimidating look. People think it’s just too calm and don’t believe it will end like this,” said Pishai.