President Robert Mugabe, in power since 1980, insists that elections must be held this year despite strong objections from his coalition government partners.
Zanu PF is using the campaign to collect the anti-sanctions campaign signatures to drum up support.
But analysts warned that most of the two million signatures Zanu PF is seeking will not be appended voluntarily. University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer John Makumbe said Zanu PF would get a rude awakening come election time.
“It’s a foolish attempt by Zanu PF to want to think that the signatures are votes already in the bag,” he said. “It would not work. In fact the petition drive is further alienating Zanu PF from would-be voters as they are forced to sign.”
Makumbe said at UZ, workers were signing the petition to save their jobs.
But Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo dismissed claims that the campaign was linked to the election.
“The programme is totally divorced from elections and people should not attempt to make a link,” he said.
“Our popularity is solely based on our restructuring and mobilisation drives, which we are managing well. The anti-sanctions drive is aimed at showing the world that the illegal sanctions are not targeted at a few individuals but the whole country,” he added.
Although Gumbo could not give indications on the number of signatures gathered to date, he said the programme would be wrapped up this month.
“We are still collecting and also receiving forms from various centres and by end on this month the programme ends,” he said.
There are reports that Zanu PF youths are coercing people including school children to sign the petition.