Mabvuku-Tafara legislator James Maridadi has called on the government to address the issue of violence and intimidation, if this year’s elections are to be free and fair, as there were young men intimidating people by demanding their registration slips.
He, however, said he had addressed the issue in his own constituency by threating to beat up the young men who were doing this in his area.
“The other issue I wish to raise about elections is the issue of registration slips,” he told Parliament last week.
“We have a problem in our communities and I do not know if other Hon. Members are experiencing that especially those that are in Harare.
“I can talk about Harare because that is what I know. We have a group of people that are moving door to door demanding registration slips. I am told it is happening everywhere. Their names, identity numbers and their house numbers are taken down. That in itself is intimidation.
“I do not know who is behind this but I know it is happening in Mabvuku. Last week I was called by members in my Constituency when a group of young men was walking around collecting these voter registration slips.
“I confronted them and asked why they were collecting these voter registration slips and they threatened to beat me up. I told them that if they try to get violent with me, I would beat them so hard that they would give up their Zimbabwean citizenship.
“How many people are endowed with the power to protect themselves like me? They are not so many. So, there is a lot of intimidation before the elections. People are being intimidated into submitting their voter registration slips.”
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission says the voter registration slips are just for the voter’s personal record and will not be used in the elections so people must not be intimidated.
Zimbabwe is due to hold elections in July or August.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has pledged that the elections will be free, fair and credible and will be open to international observers.
The main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa has threatened to boycott the elections if the necessary electoral reforms are not implemented.