In a show of desperation ahead of the potentially explosive 2023 harmonised elections, the ruling Zanu PF party is reportedly forcing civil servants, including members of the security forces, to buy party membership cards.

The unilateral move to gather electoral support for incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his long-ruling Zanu PF- in power since the country’s attainment of independence from British rule in 1980- comes in diametric contast of the constitutional stipulations that that civil servants and members of the security forces must be apolitical.

According to media reports, Zanu PF has since deployed its officials to rural police and prison camps in a desperate pursuit of selling party membership cards to officers. This comes as the ruling party has allegedly formed yet another political grouping- Civil Servants TrustED- which draws its membership from the civil service including soldiers, police officers and prison officers.

Recently, Zanu PF launched the Teachers for Economic Development (ED) and Health Ambassadors for ED.

Selling and buying membership cards is currently underway at this station (name withheld),” the NewsDay quoted one police officer as saying.

Apparently confirming the move, secretary-general of the Civil Servants TrustED, Duku Chigumira said:

Ours is an umbrella body that seeks to incorporate the rest of the civil servants who are not represented.We are drawing our membership from Agritex workers, police, soldiers, prison officers and all those who work in government departments. We are supporting President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Vision 2030. We are government workers and the highest-ranking civil servant is the President, so we have to support him. We have launched Civil Servants TrustED in eight provinces save for two Matabeleland provinces where we have had communication problems.

Documents seen by one private daily indicate that Zanu PF has been hosting the Civil Servants TrustED meetings in some provinces.

We are writing to your good office on behalf of civil servants TrustED. The Civil Servants TrustED is a new organisation that seeks to mobilise civil servants from various departments to support the vision of the President (Vision 2030). At this stage, we now want to set up our provincial executive,” wrote Chogumira in a letter dated October 18, 2022, addressed to the ZRP Officer Commanding Mutare.

However, national police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said he had not received reports of police officers being ordered to buy Zanu PF membership cards.

Nyathi said the police will carry out investigations on the matter.

“Police’s major role is to maintain law and order and promote peace in the country. However, all organisations that seek or claim to work with the police should do so with the knowledge of the command office. Such organisations should notify the commissioner-general first,” said the police publicist.

While Zimbabwe National Army spokesperson Alphios Makotore could not immediately respond to questions sent to him by a private-owned daily publication,  Zanu PF spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa said:

Civil servants cannot be party members, but can be affiliates.”