WASHINGTON DC —
Some Zimbabweans claim that they are being forced to pay varying sums of money for President Robert Mugabe’s 2018 general election campaign to be held on Friday in Mutare, Manicaland province.
Vendors, teachers and other people are claiming that youths organizing the rally are forcing them to pay up to $50 each for the rally.
Some of the affected people told VOA Studio 7 that they were being threatened by members of the Zanu PF Youth League, who say they will deal with them severely if they don’t make the necessary contributions.
The majority of Zimbabweans hardly make $%0 per month, according to the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.
The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) reports that these demands have become common even in previous rallies like the recent so-called “meeting” that was held in Marondera.
In its May report, the ZPP said, “In areas like Mudzi and Wedza in Mashonaland East, people were coerced into contributing money ranging from 50 cents to a dollar in order to ferry supporters to the rally. This went against the will of many people who support the party but could not afford and those that do not support the party and had no ambitions of attending the event. ZPP is in possession of a list of teachers’ names from Munamba Primary School in Murehwa District who were forced to each contribute $1 towards preparations for the rally. It’s a violation of freedom of association to force people into contributing funds for and or attending events of a political party that they do not subscribe to.
“Civil and political rights have been commonly violated ahead of previous Zanu PF rallies like the ‘One Million Man March’ and First Lady Grace Mugabe’s ‘Meet The People’ rallies. In 2016, ahead of the ‘one million man march’ that was held in Harare on 25 May, 88 incidences of harassment and intimidation were reported and in the month under review the figure dipped slightly to 82.”
ZPP said such violations where community members are forced to attend Zanu PF rallies continue to occur despite the Zimbabwe Constitution in Section 58 provides that no person may be compelled to belong to an association or to attend a meeting or gathering.
Zanu PF officials were not immediately available for comment.