Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, the Citizens’ Alliance for Change (CCC) led by Nelson Chamisa, has alleged that Mozambique’s ruling FRELIMO party has deployed a vigilante group in some parts of Manicaland province, allegedly threatening businesses and opposition supporters.
The allegations come on the heels of President Emmerson Mnangagwa warning foreigners not to interfere in Zimbabwe’s electoral processes.
As the people of Zimbabwe, we will not allow the West to dictate to us. We do not … dictate to them, this interference from outside is unacceptable. We, as a sovereign state and a member of the United Nations, have a sovereign right to hold our own elections [without interference].
Countries that want to monitor must restrict themselves to the role of observer [and] hands off do not interfere. Mnangagwa said while commissioning the newly renovated Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport.
In previous elections, the Zimbabwean government has always clashed with international observers, who have issued reports detailing election malpractices, voter intimidation, and human rights abuses in the country.
However, the head of the EU Election Observation Mission, Fabio Massimo Castaldo, vowed that the bloc would stick to its mandate while observing Zimbabwe’s elections for the second time after Mnangagwa lifted the ban imposed by his predecessor, the late former President Robert Mugabe, who had always accused the EU of bias against the ZANU-PF.
“The deployment of this mission is a strong sign of the commitment of Zimbabwe and the European Union to support genuine and transparent elections.
We are here to achieve common goals with the people and institutions of Zimbabwe. We will monitor and analyze the elections and our tested methodology ensures that there is no interference on our part in the process,” Castaldo said.
Despite Mnangagwa’s calls for foreigners not to interfere in Zimbabwe’s electoral processes, a ZANU-PF ally in his fight against Ian Smith’s colonial rule, Mozambique’s FRELIMO party, is accused of meddling in the southern African country’s upcoming elections.
Clifford Hlatshwayo, the CCC parliamentary candidate for Chipinge South constituency, has accused a member of FRELIMO identified only as Magarabuta of leading a gang allegedly terrorizing some businessmen and members of his party in support of the opposition.
A video circulating on social media shows Magaraputa threatening Mozambique to cut off fuel supplies to Zimbabwe if the people of Chipinge vote in opposition. Business people should strongly support Zanu-PF, Frelimo said, and if they don’t they will die.
Hlachuwayo told his party supporters at the Chingof Business Centre, about 20 kilometers from the Zimbabwe-Mozambique border, that Magaraputa was threatening the peace currently prevailing in the eastern region.
Another opposition member, Robin Pfonzawabaya, who lives near the Hauna Business Center in Mutasa district, said he Daily Maverick That Magaraputa’s “terrorist gang” was threatening violence.
We have been threatened here by people led by a Mozambican terrorist gang led by Magarabota from FRELIMO.
“They remind us of the events of 2008 and we now fear that if they do what they say we may lose our loved ones,” Pfonzawabaya said.
FRELIMO and Magarabotta’s efforts to comment were futile at the time of publication.
In 2008, Zimbabwe saw an orgy of state-sponsored violence in which hundreds of members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, which was led at the time by former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, were killed.
Tsvangirai, who defeated his rival Robert Mugabe in the first round of voting, but failed to garner enough votes to be declared president, She withdrew from the presidential runoff, declaring: “I can’t walk to the State House over dead bodies.”
Since Mnangagwa announced the date for this year’s elections, many opposition supporters have claimed they are being targeted by the ruling party.
Are diamonds being looted in Zimbabwe?
ZANU-PF spokesman Christopher Mutsvangwa and his party’s information director, Tavadzwa Mojwadi, did not respond to questions sent by him. Daily Maverick.
However, many locals in Manicaland province say they are worried they will lose their natural resources to foreign nationals like the Mozambicans who are now threatening them with violence ahead of the elections. One of these is Nixon Sithole, who lives near the diamond fields in Chiadzoa.
“We have seen many foreigners here in Chiadzoa in the company of senior Zanu-PF officials; our fear is that they are plundering our diamonds and this may be a reason for us Fremo members not wanting to support the opposition.
“Some of the helicopters always land in the diamond fields and may transport the diamonds to other countries via Mozambique. Helicopters have often been seen flying in the direction of Mozambique,” Sithole said.
Mines Minister Winston Chitandu, who is seeking re-election in Masvingo County, said he was unaware of the allegations.
“I’m hearing this from you for the first time. All I can say now is that, as a government, we follow specific, transparent procedures when it comes to selling and marketing all of our minerals.
“I’m not familiar with what you’re talking about,” Chitando said.
Mugabe once claimed that the Zimbabwean treasury lost more than $15 billion in diamond money due to corruption, but nothing was done to hold the perpetrators to account. Mnangagwa, who promised a raft of reforms, including tackling corruption, when he took office from Mugabe, has failed to tackle corruption in his government, and his critics have accused him of employing a “catch and release” strategy to make it look like he is taking action.
Some security sector sources claimed this Some of the resources were used to fund the military-assisted transition, which caused Mugabe’s resignation in November The year 2017 was derived from illegal diamond sales, although this cannot be independently verified. DM
This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168, available nationwide for R29.