The opposition MDC-T party has supported claims that were first made by Professor Jonathan Moyo, that President Emmerson Mnangagwa had deployed thousands of soldiers into the rural areas ahead of the 2018 elections. The MDC-T claims that the move is meant to intimidate the villagers into voting for Mnangagwa who came into power in November after former president Robert Mugabe stepped down following a military intervention. The opposition also claimed that it has evidence that Mnangagwa is working on delaying elections despite pretensions to the contrary.
In a statement, the opposition said:
The MDC is also deeply concerned by the continued militarization of villages around the country. We have solid and incontrovertible evidence pointing to the fact that thousands of army officers in civilian attire have been deployed into the countryside for the purpose of carrying out clandestine political campaigns on behalf of Zanu PF.
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…Our impeccable party intelligence has since gathered information to the effect that there are untoward and improper machinations that the Mnangagwa administration is currently pursuing in order to delay and/or postpone the holding of elections when they are due.
We also demand that the 2018 elections be Sadc, AU and UN guaranteed. Basically, this means that the elections have to have the seal of approval of all these important organisations and also that they produce a result that is credible and reflects the true will of the people.
The allegations that the army has been deployed into the rural areas were first made by Professor Jonathan Moyo on Twitter when he accused the government of plotting to unleash electoral violence like what happened in 2008. He said that over 2000 soldiers had been deployed into the community.
Despite being in exile, Moyo seems to be highly connected as he has been revealing some information before it is known. In an interview on BBC Hardtalk, Moyo claimed that President Mnangagwa had visited Tsvangirai in order to seek help in postponing the elections. Up till that point, that detail had not been revealed. However, after Moyo’s claim, George Charamba president Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesperson admitted that the issue had been discussed although he claimed that Tsvangirai was the one who had initiated the discussion.
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