DEFACING of political campaign posters has increased over the past few weeks as political temperatures hot up ahead of next Monday’s do-or-die general elections.
BY Jairos Saunyama/ Nokuthaba Dlamini
Several Zanu PF and MDC Alliance activists in various parts of the country have so far been taken to court for contravening Section 152 of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:28), which prohibits tampering with campaign posters.
Last Friday, MDC Alliance activist based in Dema, Oswell Mazhwawawa, was convicted and fined $100 for pulling down Zanu PF presidential candidate Emmerson Mnangagwa’s posters in Chief Seke’s area, Mashonaland East province.
Mazhwawawa was fined by Marondera magistrate Arnold Maburo.
The court heard that Mazhwawawa pulled down the posters from Zanu PF activist Godknows Chirenda’s vehicle at Marisa business centre on July 16, leading to his arrest.
Courage Chakawa represented the State.
This came as several opposition candidates in Hwange West also expressed concern over the alleged defacing of their posters by suspected ruling party activists.
The candidates raised the complaints during a meeting with top police officials in Victoria Falls last week.
“Our headache is mainly in Ndlovu, Chidobe, Chikandakubi, among other rural and urban areas. We have conducted multiple mitigation and harmony meetings, pleading with them to stop but they are refusing. Recently, l approached one Zanu PF villager after apprehending him tearing an MDC-T poster and l cautioned him, but the situation keeps worsening, especially for those who belong to small parties,” said National Patriotic Front parliamentary candidate Christopher Ndiweni.
“We fork out from our pockets for these posters and everyday when we do rounds, we find them torn. It appears as if these people are being funded to destroy our posters. We will submit their names to police even though we did not want to take that route. They destroy the faces and leave the other part hanging or at times they destroy the whole poster over night,”he added.
Zec district elections officer for the constituency, Sithembile Mlilo, reminded candidates and their supporters that it was an offence to destroy their rivals’ posters.