ZANU PF has been accused of forcing people to attend its meetings and rallies across the country as campaigning ahead of the crucial July 31 harmonised poll gathers momentum.
Suspected Zanu PF supporters on Saturday forced the closure of markets around Mbare, including Mupedzanhamo, and ordered vendors to attend a rally which was addressed by the party’s vice-president Joice Mujuru.
NewsDay witnessed markets being closed, while some of the targeted vendors and travellers at Mbare Musika confirmed they were being frog-marched to the meeting by Zanu PF activists in the politically volatile suburb.
At least 7 000 people are said to have attended the rally at which Mujuru sought to strike a chord with the people by promising them better housing.
Most of the houses in the old suburb are dilapidated while the old hostels have been condemned as unsuitable for human habitation.
“The markets have been closed down and we are now heading for the rally. The (Zanu PF) youths are saying we should immediately pack our things and follow them to Number 5 grounds for a rally,” said one of the market owners at Mupedzanhamo in a terse message.
Mbare aspiring MP for the MDC-T Eric Knight also confirmed that people were forced to attend Zanu PF rallies, but said he was not moved by that as most of them were being driven there out of fear. The MDC–T also claimed that in Zaka, Masvingo, Zanu PF–aligned headmen were forcing people to attend Zanu PF meetings.
MDC leader Welshman Ncube at the weekend said several of his aspiring party candidates who were coming from Mashonaland Central to Harare were the previous week forced to attend Zanu PF leader President Robert Mugabe’s rally held in Highfield.
However, Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said he was not aware of people who were being forced to attend Zanu PF rallies.
“I don’t know what is happening in Harare, but where I am we have more than 3 000 people whom we are giving party regalia and they came on their own. The truth of the matter will be seen on voting day,” Gumbo said.