Dismayed doesn’t even begin to explain how I feel at discovering that President Mugabe and his ZANU PF cohorts have stooped so low as to illicit money from the very poor in the name of supporting their party. Poverty is rife in Zimbabwe with the majority of the people living below the poverty datum line and yet they are still expected to contribute funds towards ZANU PF’s agenda regardless of their political affiliation.
Villagers in Vumba were forced to pay $5 towards President Mugabe’s 93rd birthday bash and yet we are told that ZANU PF loyal supporters gave willingly towards this cause. Considering that most of these villagers can barely afford to feed themselves and their families it’s unbelievable that the government would still expect donations from these poor villagers. This is just another clear indication that the government does not care for the plight of its people but will instead do all they can to push their agenda. Another woman in Sabhuku Nyamagwada’s village in Vumba, spoke of her fear at being an MDC supporter as she was threatened with death if she supported anyone else’s party other than President Mugabe’s ZANU PF party. MDC supporters in that village have resorted to walk in pairs out of fear and as a safeguard against being brutalised or murdered.
Villagers in Hwedza told the daily news in Zimbabwe last week on Sunday that they were being forced to contribute towards a youth rally that ZANU PF wants to host in Marondera in June. To my way of thinking, if ZANU PF is so great and popular, people would not need to be coerced into supporting them and their causes. The constitution is very clear that every ZImbabwean citizen has the right to belong to any political party that they choose as is indicated by the extract below:
67. Political rights•
1. Every Zimbabwean citizen has the right :-
a. to free, fair and regular elections for any elective public office established in terms of this Constitution or any other law; and b. to make political choices freely.
2. Subject to this Constitution, every Zimbabwean citizen has the right–• Freedom of assembly • Freedom of association • Right to form political parties
a. to form, to join and to participate in the activities of a political party or organisation of their choice;
b. to campaign freely and peacefully for a political party or cause;
c. to participate in peaceful political activity; and
d. to participate, individually or collectively, in gatherings or groups or in any other manner, in peaceful activities to influence, challenge or support the policies of the Government or any political or whatever cause.
The government and their enforcers clearly have not read this memo as they continue to intimidate and harass non supporters. People can no longer rely on the government and the police to keep them safe and it seems as if we have entered an era where we need someone else to police the government as they can no longer be trusted to put the interests of the wider population ahead of their own agenda…these are dark times for Zimbabwe.