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Zimbabwe NGO Charges ZANU-PF Forcing Villagers to Sign Sanctions Petition

  • Ntungamili Nkomo

War veteran Jabulani Sibanda heads an anti-sanctions committee formed by ZANU-PF to encourage the public to denounce restrictions imposed on President Mugabe and some 200 others by Western countries

The Zimbabwe Peace Project said Thursday that ZANU-PF officials led by war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda and a Gokwe legislator are pressuring villagers in Masvingo and Midlands provinces to sign a petition calling for an end to Western sanctions.

The Harare-based human rights group said Sibanda held meetings in the constituency of Gutu West this week during which he threatened those who refused to sign.

Sibanda heads an anti-sanctions committee formed by ZANU-PF to encourage the public to denounce restrictions imposed on President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle by the United States, Europe and others over alleged human rights and electoral abuses.

Gokwe Central lawmaker Dorothy Mhangami has been similarly coercing villagers in her Midlands constituency, the group said.

Zimbabwe Peace Project Chairman Wellington Mbofaba told VOA Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that villagers were signing the petition under duress.

"Indications are, everybody will be forced and because of what happened in 2008, we don't expect many people to resist," Mbofana said.

Responding, Jabulani Sibanda vehemently denied the allegations, saying that while he deplores the Western sanctions, he doesn't believe in coercing people to sign.

"I wonder why you waste your time entertaining such lies. I am against the sanctions but I dont think anyone should be forced to support that," said Sibanda.

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