A ZANU PF-affiliated organisation, Forever Associates Zimbabwe (FAZ), has deployed tens of its members in Masvingo province to collect personal voter information from each rural household, raising fears of violence and intimidation.
FAZ is a registered private voluntary organisation, whose mandate on registration was to help the needy. The organisation has been working closely with members of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).
The organisation was formed as a counter to civil society organisations (CSOs) which fight for the human rights of Zimbabweans, the same CSOs whose operations are now being targeted by the introduction of the dreaded PVO Amendment Bill.
Zaka Rural District councillor for Ward 19 (Citizens’ Coalition for Change) Peter Imbayarwo told The NewsHawks that members of FAZ are moving from village to village in the district asking people about their voter information. He said if villagers refuse, they are threatened with unspecified action.
“We are worried by a new trend which is happening here in our district. There is an organisation called FAZ which is moving around villages and even in Jerera, door-to-door collecting voter information from people. They pretend as if they want to offer assistance but their aim is to collect information like ‘are you registered and what is your polling station?’ They also ask about the number of people living at a household. This is a form of intimidation which should be stopped forthwith,” said Imbayarwo.
Zanu PF Masvingo provincial chairperson Rabson Mavhenyengwa told The NewsHawks that FAZ is an affiliate of Zanu PF just like war veterans, war collaborators, Teachers4ED and many others who are mandated to mobilise voters. He said like the ruling party, FAZ also reports to the CIO, which is there to maintain peace in the country.
“That is an affiliate like any other affiliate you are seeing today. They are a part of the ruling party which is going around mobilising support for the President. There is nothing unusual if they are seen talking to members of the intelligence because as a party we work together with the CIO which is there to preserve stability in the country,” said Mavhenyengwa.
A senior intelligence source in Masvingo said FAZ is the one going around collecting useful intelligence information which is difficult for operatives to collect on their own. He also said it would be suicidal to divulge more information about the organisation which is classified as top secret but members of FAZ report directly to CIO offices in various districts.
A FAZ district leader told The NewsHawks that each district has two members who are getting an allowance at the end of each month. He said they also received smartphones for communication and report writing.