Political tension continues to rise in Manicaland province with most independent and MDC Alliance candidates accusing Zanu PF activists of defacing their campaign posters ahead of next week’s harmonised elections.
Affected independent candidates included Brighton Mupfapairi (Makoni North) and Notion Maremudze (Chipinge Central) while MDC-Alliance’s David Tekeshe (Makoni Central), Godfrey Makwasha (Makoni West) and Canaan Matiashe (Chimanimani West) were also affected.
Mupfapairi told NewsDay yesterday that he was not happy with the dirty tricks that were being employed by the ruling party.
“My supporters told me that they saw some Zanu PF supporters removing my posters and I was not happy at all,” he said. “We thought that the ground was even, but that is not the case in Makoni North and we have already made a police report.”
Mupfapairi will contest the race with other six candidates, including Zanu PF’s James Munetsi. Maremudze in Chipinge Central was also singing from the same hymn book, saying that even the MDC-Alliance was affected in the constituency.
”My posters are being defaced. I am pained by what is happening because we don’t have resources and Zanu PF have resources,” he said.
“I am struggling to campaign because of resources, then someone can come to deface my posters. Then what should I do?
Maremudze will fight in the race against five candidates, including Zanu PF’s Raymore Machingura and Shingai Mathabhuka from the Joice Mujuru-led People Rainbow Coalition.
Matiashe, who is eyeing Chimanimani West constituency under the MDC-Alliance ticket, was also fuming yesterday, saying that they would approach relevant authorities over the matter.
“This is very unfair. How can you remove my posters? We are going to approach relevant authorities over the matter,” he said.
Tekeshe, who will be contesting against Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa (Zanu PF) in the same constituency, also cried foul.
Zanu PF provincial political commissar Gift Kagweda said accusations of the defacing of posters was the work of detractors.
“What is the purpose of removing posters? They are the ones abusing our T-shirts. Recently, we were shocked to see some MDC Alliance supporters wearing our T-shirts. They are committing the offence alone. They know we are going to defeat them,” he said.
In a related development, Zvimba East’s independent parliamentary candidate Lovejoy Mawoza has bemoaned police impartiality after his supporters were arrested for allegedly defacing President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s campaign posters at Murombedzi growth point.
Mawoza’s supporters, Amos Mwanza, Arnold Mudukione and Amos Makope, were summoned to appear at the Chinhoyi Magistrates Court yesterday to face allegations of defacing Mnangagwa’s posters.
He claimed that his posters were defaced by Zanu PF supporters and attempts to get the police to act did not yield any results.
“The Zanu PF supporters are the ones who placed Mnangagwa’s posters on top of mine and they even threatened to assault my supporters. We captured this on video, but now it is my people who are being arrested and dragged to court,” he said.
In a video, Zanu PF supporters can be seen placing posters of Mnangagwa on top of Mawoza’s as the two sides exchanged words.
The Zanu PF supporters in the video told Mawoza’s supporters that they controlled the area and would put their posters as they wish.
“Don’t ask us silly questions. This is our area. We are the ones who put up posters here first. There is now a layer of five posters and we will not stop. This is our area and we control it,” one of the supporters captured on video said.
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