ZAPU president, Sibangilizwe Nkomo, has chastised some ex-ZPRA cadres who are reportedly being used by the ruling Zanu PF party to intimidate communities ahead of next year’s elections.
His remarks come as some war veterans have been used as weapons or instruments of violence in Zimbabwe, particularly in the run-up to elections in 1980, 2000, and 2008.
However, the ZAPU leader has urged the ex-combatants to be a force for peace rather than causing violence and intimidating communities.
Addressing a rally on Saturday in Ward 18, Molo, Bubi district, the ZAPU leader expressed disappointment that some former ZPRA cadres had been blamed for harassing communities.
“Fingers have been pointing at some of you ZPRA cadres in communities that you are the ones going around intimidating people,” Nkomo said.
“Don’t allow yourselves to be used in notorious deeds because Zanu will go and you will be left with that burden, so don’t be used by it.”
Nkomo advised the former combatants to change their behaviour and promote peace in communities.
“Become what you were taught during the liberation struggle, live well with others and continue preserving peace. Stop intimidating people who for many years have endured abuse from Zanu PF. It’s not right to harass people who have suffered under Zanu,” said the ZAPU leader.
“We are looking at you ZPRA cadres to guard peace. Do what you were taught by ZAPU and Joshua Nkomo, not to carry out bad things. You are now old so you must leave a legacy that is good for your neighbours.”
In turn, he urged community leaders, such as village heads, to refrain from intimidating others.
“Don’t harass people; keep quiet rather than harass them,” Nkomo said, noting that ZAPU was a peace-loving party.
Nkomo also advised the community to remain steadfast and not allow anyone to victimise them.
“We have heard reports of intimidation where people are threatened not to join ZAPU and if they do, they will be evicted from their resettlement areas and villages. There is nothing like that because ZAPU and ZPRA liberated the country with the help of the community. This land is yours including the farms which you fought for,” he said.
“Don’t allow yourself to be swayed by individuals who are afraid of Zanu, individuals who claim you won’t receive maize or that you will be evicted for your land. It has been 42 years since we liberated the country, do you still believe there are cameras inside the polling station? That is false. It’s your right to be in ZAPU and vote for it. You must liberate yourself from Zanu just like what our parents did during the struggle.”
The ZAPU leader urged communities to remove doubts and abandon their fears of an opposition taking power in Zimbabwe, saying it was a possibility.
“You have suffered enough, liberate yourselves. Let’s stay determined and be focused, don’t be cheated but vote for a black bull,” Nkomo said, adding it was important for people to defend their vote.
“It is important to have polling agents because votes must be watched over like a corpse.”
Nkomo also requested for communities to volunteer themselves as polling agents as the party was financially struggling.
“The organisation is struggling. I don’t want to lie so elections may come and we will still be in bad shape but I request polling agents to be determined. If our fortunes change, we will be talking about a new story,” he said.
“Zanu PF is like Goliath (a biblical character in the Bible -Book of Samuel who was a Philistine giant) but was defeated by a young David) and in this case, ZAPU is the small David.”