The newly-formed opposition Transform Zimbabwe political party is accusing Zanu PF of using chiefs and village heads to coerce them into voting for the ruling party in Friday’s parliamentary by-elections.
David Rhodi, the campaign manager for Transform Zimbabwe candidate Kenard Fungayi in the Mount Darwin West constituency by-election, said chiefs and village heads on Thursday addressed villagers in Ward 8 in Ruwani area.
The villagers were told to gather Friday morning at their village heads’ homesteads before going to polling stations to cast their ballots in elections that are being boycotted by the Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai and another group calling itself the MDC Renewal Team.
Rhodi said the actions of the chiefs are tantamount to intimidation of voters, adding a report has been made to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
He, however, said that his party will not pull out of the by-elections.
With the entrance of the four political parties, and one independent candidate, there is clear absence of the Movement for Democratic change led by Tsvangirai, which has vowed not to participate in any elections in Zimbabwe until electoral reforms are completed.
MDC-T spokesman Obert Gutu told VOA Studio 7 electoral reforms must be implemented first for his party to consider participating in any future elections in the country.
Responding, Zanu PF UK chairman Nick Mangwana said the argument by the MDC-T is flawed, and their lack of participation in by-elections is a drawback for its supporters and major push for the Zanu PF.