Mwenezi East villagers have expressed grave concern at threats of political violence and intimidation of citizens from traditional leaders and war vets ahead of the April 8 by -election. The villagers have accused war vets, traditional leaders and Zanu PF supporters of employing terror tactics and massive vote buying ahead of the Mwenezi East by-election. Expressing their concerns during a public dialogue facilitated by Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development (COTRAD) at Neshuro Growth Point last week, the villagers said, self-styled war veteran, Sylvanos Dube of ward 5 under Chief Neshuro was forcing Mwenezi East electorate to attend Zanu PF candidate Joosbi Omar’s rallies. Dube is said to be a former member of the fifth brigade together with Colonel Hungwe, Major Moyo and N Ndlovu. The four are forcing local villagers to attend Zanu PF ward meetings .Villagers are also being forced to vote for Zanu PF.
Villagers in Rusaza Resettlement Area near Rutenga said Dube and his team threatened to unleash violence in the event of a Zanu PF loss in the by-election. “People are being told that Zanu PF is the only party to support here in Mwenezi and the so called war veterans have said everyone who will be found on the wrong side will be severely punished ,”said COTRAD peace committee member Tawanda Moyo of Rutenga area.
COTRAD is deeply concerned about the volatile political situation in Mwenezi. Tolerance should be the hallmark of free and fair elections, but that is not the situation in Mwenezi. COTRAD urges the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission to ensure the practice and fulfilment of the electoral act and other constitutional provisions. Traditional leaders in Mwenezi are conducting their day to day business in a partisan manner. Constitutionally, traditional leaders must be apolitical and they should be the champions of peace in their communities. In section 281, the Constitution of Zimbabwe clearly states that traditional leaders should be objective in the execution of their duties.