The bases are confined to high density areas. According to some residents, Zanu PF is turning residential homes of some party leaders at district level and losing parliamentary candidates into campaign bases to organise meetings where youths spend most of their time strategising for the next election.
The youths are moving in groups at night, chanting their party slogans and this has unsettled residents in the neighbourhood who fear that they will be harrassed for their political views.
The setting up of campaign bases resulted in several incidents of violence last weekend in Mbare and Budiriro constituencies were scores of Zanu PF and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) youths clashed, resulting in many of them being injured.
More than 20 MDC youths were arrested by the police and arraigned before the Harare magistrates’ court for disorderly conduct.
Another group of Zanu PF supporters disrupted the Harare City Council meeting on Friday where MDC councillors were meeting.
They were baying for the blood of Harare Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda, and accused him of being behind the slashing of the residents’ maize crop by city council workers.
Kuraone Chihwayi, the deputy spokesperson for the smaller MDC faction confirmed the setting up of the bases in Kuwadzana constituency resulting in the upsurge of violence.
”A base has been set up in Kuwadzana, and we are wondering for what purpose. There is increased Zanu PF youths actvity and they are terrorising residents, in particular well known MDC supporters in various constituencies in Harare. This is not confined to one constituency, but many of the urban constituencies countrywide,” said Chihwayi.
However, Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo denied that his party was setting up bases in urban constituencies, saying it was normal party activity and members were meeting for mini rallies at their leaders homes.
"There is nothing like that. It is only that youths are always engaged in meetings with their various leaders campaigning. We are always mobilising our members and educating them on various political issues concerning the party. It is an on-going programme that we undertake frequently,” said Gumbo.
The MDC factions are not allowed to hold rallies without police clearance.
Since its formation in 1999, the MDC has managed to wrestle most of the urban constituencies from Zanu PF as the urban electorate sympathises with the MDC.
The voting pattern was the same in council elections, with MDC securing more seats in urban constituencies countrywide.
Zanu PF only managed to win the Harare South constituency under Herbert Nyanhongo, on the outskirts of Harare, surrounded by farms. -Daily News