Zimbabwe's first post-Mugabe elections are set to be held in four months' time, but President Emmerson Mnangagwa and and his deputy, Constantino Chiwenga, are not on the ground campaigning ahead of the polls.
According to NewZimbabwe.com, this has ignited "rigging fears" among Zanu-PF opponents, who claim that the southern African country might witness a repeat of the same scenario as that in the 2013 elections, when Robert Mugabe went on to post a thumping victory against his challengers despite hardly spending any time on the ground campaigning.
Mnangagwa, the report said, has remained absent from the campaign arena, at a time when "his main challenger Nelson Chamisa and allies have almost covered every piece of ground in the country in their bid to seek popular support ahead of the elections".
Former information minister (and flip-flopping Mugabe supporter/detractor) Jonathan Moyo suggested on his Twitter page last week that Mnangagwa and Chiwengwa could be planning to rig the elections.
"Why are Mnangagwa and Chiwenga not on the ground campaigning with polls four months away? a) They've a rigging plan. b) Army will do another coup. c) They've given up," Moyo tweeted
"It is wrong to think or assume that Zanu-PF has not been campaigning. They are on the ground, but not in the traditional way we all know political parties operating."
Zanu-PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo, however, rubbished Moyo's remarks, saying that the party's campaign season had not yet started.
"Campaigns begin when we launch our manifesto. None of us are campaigning. We do not start campaigning before the launch of the manifesto. That is what the position is," Khaya Moyo was quoted as saying.
But the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MCD) alliance spokesperson, Welshman Ncube, said that it was clear Zanu-PF had become a military organisation since last November, when an army coup secured Mnangagwa's rise to power.
"It is wrong to think or assume that Zanu-PF has not been campaigning. They are on the ground, but not in the traditional way we all know political parties operating," NewsDay cited Ncube as saying.
"Zanu-PF is now a military organisation. There are no true civilians in control of Zanu-PF as we speak. You will not see the ordinary campaign you will see from a normal political party, because the military is laying the groundwork for a final assault on the people as we head into the election," said Ncube.