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Military intensifies poll drive in Hurungwe

The military is intensifying its campaign for Zanu PF ahead of elections next year in Hurungwe, Mashonaland West province.

Three villagers in Zvipani, Hurungwe West ward 25 are reported to have been facing harassment by Chief Ephraim Matawo for refusing to submit their names and as well as the names of political parties they support to Chief Matawo who is working under orders from soldiers deployed in his area to lay the ground for ZANU-PF's national campaigns.

The three, Simbarashe Mbareta, Josphat Muringapasi and Tawanda Mavhondo refused to be part of the 'naming' exercise arguing that the party they belong to is a secret and questioned why the list was being handed over to the military. Mbareta, Mavhondo and Muringapasi were reportedly summoned by Chief Matawo who ordered them to pay a fine of $25 for refusing to submit their names after which they were threatened with eviction from Zvipani village.

In an interview with the Crisis Report Team, Samuel Magarise, a Hurungwe local confirmed the reports stating that Chief Matawo addressed all the villagers instructing them to submit their names and that of their political party or else they will face eviction from the village.

Magarise reported that the exercise could be a trap to expose non-sympathisers of ZANU-PF so that they can be "dealt with" by the army and the youth militia. He told the Crisis Report team that the move is in sync with reports that the military has reportedly warned the chiefs in Hurungwe at the meetings of the possibility of war if Zanu-PF lost the forthcoming election.

A Hurungwe villager who declined to be named for security reasons also confirmed the incident saying that, "Chief Matawo summoned the village as if he were attending to a local dispute involving stock theft but then started to instruct us to list down our names and the political parties we support so that it will be submitted to the soldiers."

The military is credited with masterminding Zanu PF's brutal 2008 presidential run-off poll campaign which saw Robert Mugabe retain power.Members of the army have also reportedly been campaigning for Zanu PF, particularly in Masvingo and Manicaland provinces, where soldiers from the Mutare-based 3 Brigade recently visited traditional chiefs in Nyanga North and South for "orientation programmes", while traditional leaders in Bikita were also ordered to attend meetings at Masvingo 4 Brigade army headquarters.

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