Zanu PF Deploys FAZ in Harare By-Elections Amid Controversy

Deployment Raises Questions on Electoral Integrity and Democracy

by Adenike Adeodun

The Zanu PF party has mobilized members of the Forever Associates Zimbabwe (FAZ) group for the upcoming by-elections in Harare East and Mt Pleasant, continuing a pattern of engagement that stirred controversy in last year’s general elections. FAZ members, who previously established “Exit Polls” desks outside polling stations to question voters, are once again at the forefront of the party’s campaign efforts.

The seats for Harare East and Mt Pleasant became vacant after the resignation of Fadzayi Mahere and Rusty Markham from Parliament. Their departure was in solidarity with former Citizens Coalition of Change leader Nelson Chamisa, who left the party citing concerns over infiltration by Zanu PF. In response, Zanu PF has now deployed not only FAZ but also members of the Heritage Trust at every polling station within the constituencies to ensure what they describe as an “outright victory.”

Ephraim Fundukwa, the party’s provincial vice-chairman for Harare, conveyed this strategy to Vice-President Constantine Chiwenga at a rally in Harare East. Fundukwa detailed that teams of 20 members, including provincial leaders, FAZ, Heritage Trust, and Young Women for ED members, are positioned at each of the 50 polling stations involved in the by-election.

Kudakwashe Munsaka, president of FAZ, defended the group’s involvement in the elections, asserting their affiliation with Zanu PF and commitment to serving the party’s objectives. “We have said umpteen times that we are an affiliate of Zanu PF and this has not changed,” Munsaka stated. He emphasized that FAZ is prepared to support the party’s campaign efforts as needed, reflecting their motto “We live to serve.”

This alignment with Zanu PF has not been without its controversies. FAZ’s involvement in the party’s restructuring programs in 2022 and their actions during the 2023 harmonized elections drew criticism for allegedly manipulating voter outcomes in favor of specific candidates within Zanu PF. These activities led to widespread condemnation from the opposition party, Citizens Coalition of Change (CCC), and several observer missions.

Multiple international observer missions scrutinized the role of FAZ in last year’s elections. The European Union Election Observer Mission (EUEOM), led by Fabio Massimo Castaldo, reported instances of voter intimidation by FAZ members. Similarly, the Commonwealth Election Observer Mission (EOM) expressed concerns about FAZ’s presence in rural areas, a sentiment echoed by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) EOM. These reports highlighted the contentious nature of FAZ’s activities and their potential impact on the fairness and transparency of the electoral process.

As the by-elections approach, the use of FAZ and similar groups remains a focal point for both national and international stakeholders monitoring the electoral integrity in Zimbabwe. The government’s reliance on these groups underscores the ongoing challenges within Zimbabwe’s electoral landscape, including issues of transparency, fairness, and the suppression of genuine democratic processes. The situation calls for careful observation and possibly reevaluation of electoral practices to ensure that future elections are conducted in a manner that upholds the democratic rights of all citizens.

In conclusion, the deployment of FAZ members in the forthcoming by-elections is a continuation of Zanu PF’s strategy to fortify its electoral position through affiliations that have been both beneficial and highly controversial. The implications of these actions for Zimbabwe’s democracy remain significant, as they reflect broader issues of governance and political manipulation that continue to challenge the country’s political stability and democratic integrity.


Source: Newsday

You may also like

white logo with motto

The Zimbabwe Advocate is more than just a news outlet. We are a movement, a symbol of resistance against misinformation.

Latest News

© 2024 The Zimbabwe Advocate. All Rights Reserved.