AS general elections fast approach, Zanu PF is now employing various intimidation tactics in Manicaland province, where known perpetrators of the 2008 poll violence are threatening to beat up or even kill those who will not vote for President Robert Mugabe in Wednesday general polls.
In an interview with Zimbabwe Independent today, MDC-T Manicaland provincial chairman Julius Magarangoma said Zanu PF supporters were threatening their members with a repeat of the 2008 election violence, which occurred during the presidential run-off period, if Mugabe loses or if there is no outright presidential winner.
He said as the elections draw close, there are increasing levels of intimidation, particularly in rural areas, whose memories are of the violence that rocked Zimbabwe in 2008 when hundreds of people were killed as the military embarked on a violent election campaign to rescue Mugabe after he lost the first round of polling, are still fresh.
“Intimidation has intensified in the last three days. Zanu PF supporters are going around threatening people with violence. So far they are using people who were involved in the 2008 election violence,” Magarangoma said.
“They have deployed the 2008 perpetrators of violence in Buhera and other parts of Manicaland. These people are known by the locals. All they do is just walk or drive around the constituencies or just hang around the shopping centres. Now people are scared that they are there to mete out violence on the locals.”
He added that: “People were being told that they will beat up people during the run-off, like they did in 2008, if they don’t vote correctly and ensure that Mugabe wins in the first round.”
In addition, Magarangoma said MDC-T supporters were being arrested for engaging in door-to-door campaigns and toy-toying.
“We are not allowed to campaign door-to-door and police are arresting our members saying it is illegal. This is just part of the intimidation tactics being employed.”
This is happening as Mugabe, who is desperate for legitimacy if he wins July 31 elections, has been preaching peace at all his rallies.