THE ruling Zanu PF party has reportedly crafted a cocktail of anti-opposition strategies ahead of this year’s polls, among them being to “steal” national identity (IDs) cards belonging to opposition party members to ensure they do not vote on polling day.
NewsDay has also learnt that other tactics include creating no-go areas for opposition activists in rural areas where the ruling party has been enjoying unfettered dominance since independence in 1980.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s party is also purportedly bussing in people from rural and peri-urban constituencies to register as voters in urban areas.
In an audio that has gone viral on social media platforms, a voice alleged to be that of Zanu PF Midlands provincial secretary for legal affairs, Energy Ncube is heard telling party supporters to befriend opposition sympathisers so that they steal their IDs to block them from voting in the forthcoming polls.
He was reportedly addressing participants at a Herbert Chitepo School of Ideology workshop for Zanu PF members at the party’s Kwekwe district office at the weekend.
“If you are in a relationship with someone from the opposition and you know that s/he will not vote for Zanu PF, make sure that on the day of the election, the person should have a sleepover at your place and steal the ID card so s/he won’t vote. Elections are a game of numbers; make sure that opposition supporters do not vote on election day. Even your father, if he is from the opposition, please steal his identity documents so that he cannot vote,” Ncube said.
Last week, Zanu PF allegedly bussed in its members from Goromonzi to Harare to register them as voters.
Some of them were left stranded after the bus that brought them to the capital did not return to pick them up.
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Citizens Coalition for Change vice-president Tendai Biti told NewsDay that the opposition was aware of Zanu PF’s shenanigans to register its supporters outside their constituencies in order to rig the polls.
“We are aware of Zanu PF tactics, they have been bussing people to register in areas they do not stay. The law is very clear, people should be registered where they stay. This is an old age tactic by Zanu PF. They did that in 2013 and 2018, but we are going to audit the voters roll. We are going to every address to see if the people registered there stay at a given address. We did that in 2018 and we discovered that about 200 people in Harare North were registered at an open stand,” Biti said.
But Zanu PF political commissar Mike Bimha dismissed the allegations.
“We have instructed our provincial structures to go full throttle in encouraging our supporters to register to vote in areas they stay. We are happy that some provinces have taken heed of the call and our supporters are already registering to vote. The party is already in campaign mode and we have devised strategies to make sure we have a resounding victory,” Bimha said.
In a leaked audio last year, former State Security minister Owen Ncube encouraged Zanu PF supporters to create no-go areas for opposition supporters.
Violence on opposition supporters has already started with pockets of skirmishes being reported across the country.
Political analyst Romeo Chasara said: “If the playing field does not change, Zimbabwe risks having another disputed election. This will have a negative effect on the image of the country and the economy. The current problems bedevilling the country will just persist. It is a vicious cycle that will continue for every five years until Zanu PF reforms.”