Zanu PF cries foul, CCC files police report as campaign posters are defaced

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By Clayton Shereni | Masvingo Correspondent

PARLIAMENTARY candidates for the Masvingo Urban constituency are crying foul over the illegal defacing of their campaign posters ahead of the crucial August 23 plebiscite.

Three candidates; current Masvingo Mayor Collen Maboke who is contesting as an independent, his deputy Wellington Mahwende of Zanu PF, and Martin Mureri of Citizens Coalition for Change are eyeing the seat.

In what seems to be dirty tricks ahead of the election, campaign posters are being defaced as a sign of disapproval by suspected rogue supporters.

Independent candidate, Maboke accuses the ruling Zanu PF and CCC supporters of defacing his posters saying they are feeling the heat.

“Zanu PF and CCC supporters are defacing my posters. They are afraid because they know I am the people’s choice. These dirty tricks won’t change people’s hearts, I am replacing those defaced posters and I will not tire, people want me because they are the ones that sent me to represent them,” said Maboke.

CCC candidate, Mureri is also crying foul and says he has filed a police report.

“Most of my posters are being pulled down by my rivals’ supporters. We have made a police report regarding that matter,” he said.

However, Mureri and his campaign manager, Thomas Mbetu said they are yet to get the case number from the Investigating Officer.

The case was allegedly reported at CID Law and Order Masvingo.

Masvingo police spokesperson, Inspector Kudakwashe Dhewa could not be drawn to comment as he was out of office.

Zanu PF candidate, Wellington Mawende was not reachable for comment as his mobile went unanswered until the time of publishing.

However, Zanu PF Masvingo provincial spokesperson, Pepukai Chiwewe demanded evidence of where their supporters were participating in this illegal activity and said they were real victims.

“We are busy campaigning, if there is any evidence linking our supporters to the defacing of other candidates’ posters let it be brought forward. Our posters are the ones being defaced and in some instances, our supporters are assaulted by CCC members,” said Chiwewe.

Zanu PF is currently doing roadshows daily in the Masvingo Central Business District (CBD) and residential suburbs while CCC and Independent candidates have been denied an opportunity to hold car rallies.

Maboke and Mureri are crying foul saying defacing their posters and banning car rallies brings an unfair political field ahead of the general elections.

Mureri was arrested together with the CCC candidate for Masvingo West Pedzisai Gasva a few weeks for allegedly convening an unsanctioned campaign in Mucheke’s high-density suburbs.

CCC Masvingo leadership has demanded to see applications by the ruling party and police clearances relating to the car rallies but claims the police are being evasive to provide evidence.

Maboke’s intended car rallies have also failed to be cleared by the police who are saying the applications don’t meet set requirements to be cleared.

According to Section 152 (1) of the Electoral Act Chapter 2:13, defacing or pulling down other aspirants’ campaign posters is an offense.