This June, Zanu PF continued to shut down the space for the opposition
in Mashonaland West, East, Central and Masvingo provinces and perhaps
the most prominent case is when suspected Zanu PF youths allegedly
backed by Energy minister and Muzarabani North legislator, Soda Zhemu,
and Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe attacked Citizens
Coalition for Change (CCC) Vice President Tendai Biti as he was travelling
According to information ZPP gathered, the Zanu PF district chairperson
Emmerson Raradza, Muzarabani South Legislator Tapera Saizi and Zhemu,
with the assistance of Kazembe organized a group of party youths and
mobilized resources to converge and attack Biti, who is also Harare East
It is alleged that Kazembe got information of Biti’s visit to Muzarabani
through the police channels which he superintends.
Kazembe allegedly went on to pass Biti’s travel details to Saizi and
Zhemu, who organised the attack.
With the plan finalised, it was shared with Rararadza and Central
Intelligence Office operative identified as Hamunyari Kasengezi, who then
allegedly organised vehicles to ferry party youths from Muzarabani
North’s Wards 7, 8 and 9.
The youths were allegedly given beer and food to carry out the attack.
The youths allegedly mounted a roadblock and when Biti’s vehicle convoy
arrived the youths sang and chanted Zanu PF songs and slogans as they
stoned the motorcade, forcing Biti to make a u-turn back to Harare.
This is just one of the prominent cases where the operating space for the
opposition is being constricted ahead of the 2023 elections and in the
past three months, ZPP has recorded over 20 incidents where Zanu PF
local leaders or traditional leaders have deliberately taken action meant to
intimidate opposition supporters.
For example, in June, Zanu PF youths forced CCC supporters to abort a
soccer tournament organised by the opposition. Zanu PF youths alleged
that they had not been informed of the tournament and it could,
therefore, not go ahead.
Even President Emmerson Mnangagwa seems to be part of the whole
grand scheme to alienate the opposition because when he visited
Murehwa in June in his capacity as the Head of State, to commission a
Civil Registry office, he allegedly summoned traditional leaders and while
addressing them, he said they were supposed to be seen to be actively
leading the Zanu PF party local structures called cells.
According to the Constitution, traditional leaders are not supposed to
support any political party and by addressing the traditional leaders in
his Head of State capacity and ‘urging them to support and lead Zanu PF
structures,’ President Mnangagwa not only abused his authority, but also
acted in contravention Section 281 of the Constitution, which clearly
states that traditional leaders must not be members of any political party
or in any way participate in partisan politics and must not act in a
partisan manner or further the interests of any political party or cause.
President Mnangagwa is not alone in this, because his deputy, Vice
President Constantino Guvheya Chiwenga, in May, while addressing an
Africa Day eve meeting, told traditional leaders in Gwanda to mobilize for
Zanu PF ahead for the 2023 general elections