Soldiers from the 3.2 infantry battalion at Tsanzaguru, outside Rusape have been deployed in Nyazura for an exercise, but their real goal is to campaign for ZANU PF, villagers said on Wednesday.
Truck loads of army vehicles dropped off close to 400 troops at Gwangwaza shopping centre late on Sunday. They were being transported from their main base at Tsanzaguru, which is 30 km away. Reports say so far they've not physically harmed anyone, but have been roaming the area menacingly.
The heavily armed soldiers have been telling villagers they're in the area for a training exercise, although they are singing revolutionary ZANU PF songs and toy-toying.
David Makosa, a villager who resides close to the shopping centre, queried why, if they were on an exercise, the soldiers were warning people against voting for the MDC. He said that they're moving door to door, urging people to vote ZANU PF and not to forget what happened in 2008. This is in reference to the state sponsored violence that rocked the country four years when over 500 MDC-T supporters lost their lives, tens of thousands were injured and over half a million displaced.
'As far as we are concerned this is not a military exercise, but a campaign exercise by the army for ZANU PF. Interestingly, the same soldiers are moving around the villages scrounging for food,' Makosa said.
He observed that pupils from Mupangwi primary and Ruombwe secondary schools have stopped attending lessons out of fear of the soldiers, a situation they described as 'very intimidating.'