ZANU PF polling agents in Gutu have allegedly received their allowances from the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) offices at Mpandawana. This suggests a close connection between the ruling party and State entities in the 2023 election project.
Analysts interviewed by The Mirror stated that this incident is not surprising as there seems to be a strong association between State entities and ZANU PF, blurring the lines between the party and the State.
Mirror reporters visited the CIO offices near Gutu Police Station after receiving public reports. They found numerous polling agents and some Forever Associates Zimbabwe (FAZ) members from four Gutu constituencies gathered there namely Gutu Central, South, East, and West.
When contacted for comment, Isaac Moyo, the CIO Director General, denied knowledge of the situation, stating, “I have no knowledge of it,” before ending the call. One of the agents confirmed to The Mirror:
We received our allowances from these offices a few days after the elections. Today, we were called on short notice and told to sign papers to confirm the receipts because there are allegations that some of us were shortchanged and did not receive the money.
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The agents were disappointed as they were called to the CIO offices but not given money for transportation or food.
Opposition parties, particularly the CCC, have raised concerns about the CIO’s influence on the elections through a group called FAZ. It is alleged that FAZ controlled the Zimbabwe Electoral Authority (ZEC) and manipulated the elections in Gutu District. Presiding officers, including Teachers4ED members, were accused of manipulating results and harassing CCC representatives. The international community declined to endorse the elections due to the perceived closeness between the State and ZANU PF, suggesting that the ruling party had significant control. The involvement of the CIO in financial transactions on behalf of a political party was deemed inappropriate by Wilfred Mandinde of the Zimbabwe NGO Forum. Mandinde declared:
We have seen arms of the State acting like paramilitaries of Zanu-PF. This has to stop.
According to reports, ZANU PF’s chief agents received US$200 in allowances, while roving agents received US$160, and ordinary agents received US$120. ZANU PF had previously claimed to have millions of dollars for the elections.
In Gutu District, there were reports of widespread harassment by FAZ operatives, resulting in numerous opposition supporters being imprisoned and required to pay substantial fines for minor altercations. Ephraim Murudu, a CCC candidate in Gutu West and a war veteran, was allegedly fined US$300, which had to be paid immediately, following an incident involving a FAZ member.