Zanu-PF National Political Commissar retired Lieutenant General Engelbert Rugeje has dismissed reports that the ruling party has deployed more than 5 000 in the rural areas ahead of the 2018 elections. Speaking to The Standard, Rugeje said,
Those are fabrications. We have been preaching peace starting with the president and the top leadership of the party. Even in our gatherings are those outside Zanu PF and government, we have always been preaching about peace, peace and non-violence and for anyone to allege that we are fomenting violence in the rural areas it is mischievous.
Zanu PF is a political party that respects the liberty of the people and respects harmony and peace. Zanu PF has always propagated love for one another and we thrive on unity. This allegation that soldiers have been deployed all over to assist is not true. We have structures as Zanu PF of our own members who are on the ground.
I don’t know where this is coming from, but I am no longer competent to talk on behalf of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces because I am a retired general. But I have never experienced or witnessed soldiers deployed on behalf on Zanu PF.
After all, why would we need soldiers when we have our own solid structures that have been mobilising and restructuring to ensure that we win the elections resoundingly? I don’t know where this is coming from, but maybe the military will be more qualified to talk about that.
However, the opposition and civic organisations have accused Zanu-PF of using members of the military to unleash violence on opposition supporters in elections, particularly the 2008 elections.