ZANU PF has been accused of forcing resettled villagers in Lubangwe area of Hwange to buy the party’s new electronic membership cards which are going for $3, failure of which they would be barred from getting government farming inputs this season.
Senior Court Reporter
The move has been seen as a way of raising funds to hold the party’s December congress, as the ruling party is facing financial challenges.
Zanu PF recently set up provincial committees to fundraise for the event, as its coffers were dry.
However, the development to force resettled villagers to buy party cards has been seen as blackmail by the party, which reportedly uses the land reform to cow villagers into submission.
The incidents are reportedly happening at Nyongolo Primary School in Lubangwe about 60km from Victoria Falls, where the Zanu PF team issuing the membership cards is based.
Zanu PF Matabeland North provincial chairperson, Richard Moyo, dismissed the claims as lies.
“We are not issuing out new cards,” he said.
“What we are doing is replacing the old cards and giving them the new electronic cards.
“If there was anyone who was forced, he’s not part of our party.
“The $3 they are paying is for subscriptions, no one has been forced, these are all lies.”
However, villagers who spoke to Southern Eye confirmed that they were being forced to buy the cards, with the party leadership in the area issuing veiled threats.
“Since the team came here, we have been forced to buy the IDs,” a villager said.
“They are saying that those who did not buy the cards belonged to the MDC and will not benefit from the government farming inputs this season.”
The villager said local residents were complying because they feared being labelled as members of the opposition, a tag which could mean them losing access to some government programmes, like farming inputs.
Another villager said they had to buy cards because they feared if they did not, they could lose the land they were allocated.
“You are aware that land was given to those people who showed allegiance to Zanu PF,” the villager said.
“So if we don’t buy the cards we might also lose our land.
“We are now just doing it to protect our future not because that we want the IDs.”
Zanu PF has the history of using land and farms inputs to lure villagers to support it.