Zanu PF fingered in violence

HARARE - Peace building civic group — the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) — has reported an increase in political violence, which it said was being perpetrated by both the ruling Zanu PF and the MDC.

In its first quarter report on the human rights situation, the ZPP said the first three months of the year were dominated by systematic rise in cases of political violence and intra-party violence in both Zanu PF and the MDC.

“The year 2018 started on a rather unpromising note. Political bickering within Zanu PF, in particular the persecution of the so-called G40 cabal after the ouster of president Robert Mugabe continued to shape the course of political events into the New Year.

“The year thus started with a 24 percent increase in recorded incidents of human rights violations. 245 violations were recorded in January, up from 186 cases the previous December. Notably, 169 cases of harassment and intimidation and 57 discrimination cases were recorded in January.

“Commendably though, cases of outright violence were by comparison significantly lower with only six cases recorded. The cases were largely inter-party skirmishes between Zanu PF and MDC-T supporters and intra-party squabbling within Zanu PF as part of the continued G40 purge,” ZPP said.

By location, Manicaland Province had the highest number of violations with 62 cases, followed by Mashonaland Central with 60, and Masvingo with 38.

“Zanu PF was accused as the main perpetrator, accounting for 85,8 percent of the violations, followed by the Zimbabwe Republic Police at 5,3 percent, the War Veterans at 0,7 percent, the MDC-T at 0,2 percent, and the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) at 0,2 percent.

“Most of the violations by Zanu PF were at a local level and were spearheaded by local party leaders at district or lower levels. A few times, sitting or aspiring Members of Parliament were also implicated.

“Notably, the violations by the state agents (the ZRP and the ZNA) were primarily of a nonpolitical nature. Rather, they were of a civil nature and mainly related to the maintenance of law and order,” added the ZPP.

ZPP said Zanu PF appeared to have settled its differences and there was a likelihood of more incidents of violence in the MDC than the ruling party.

It said the death of MDC founding president Morgan Tsvangirai exposed serious differences within the party which saw violence flaring at his burial.

“With no clear succession policy in place, his death plunged his party into a succession crisis that would see it descend into violence and eventually another split.
The intra-party violence that erupted at the iconic leader’s funeral with the assault of three senior party officials would escalate throughout the month to debunk the myth that political violence was a preserve of the ruling party,” said the ZPP.

The MDC has split into two factions following nasty fallout over Tsvangirai’s successor.

The party’s two vice presidents — Nelson Chamisa and Thokozani Khupe have both claimed leadership of the country’s biggest opposition — with the tussle for control of the movement spilling into the courts where a determination would be made this month.

Chamisa has hit the campaign trail with a relish, which is seeing him holding two rallies every weekend.

More than 107 political parties have registered with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to participate in the forthcoming elections, with the presidential plebiscite seen as a two-way tussle between Chamisa and President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Zimbabwe holds its highly anticipated national elections in a few weeks’ time with Mnangagwa expected to announce the dates in the coming days.

For the first time in two decades, the forthcoming elections won’t feature Mugabe and the popular late Tsvangirai — who lost his valiant battle with colon cancer in February this year.

Mugabe’s 37-year, iron-fisted rule was dramatically ended by the intervention of the military in the country’s governance last November, paving the way for the installation Mnangagwa as his successor both in government and in Zanu PF.

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