The escalation of political activity continued into the month of May and major political parties are now preparing for the general election, which is due by July 2023. The patterns of intimidation and harassment, abductions, and assaults implicating the ruling party continued unabated.
The organization recorded cases where Zanu PF abused its influence in government to manipulate national processes like the voter registration blitz, the mobile national documentation outreach, and aid distribution.
In this month’s roundup, we dig into these cases and provide detailed analyses and recommendations. Between March and June 2008, over 200 opposition supporters were killed while thousands of others were injured and tens of thousands were displaced in one of the vilest electoral periods in Zimbabwe’s history.
The systematic targeting of the supporters of the then main opposition party, the MDC-T, was in response to the party’s parliamentary and presidential election victory over Zanu PF.
For the first time in 28 years, Zanu PF was facing defeat right in its face and the party used all at its disposal – the police, intelligence agents, the military, war veterans and youth militia- to overturn the defeat.
After the orgy of violence, the country was to get into a multi-party dialogue that led to a unity government between Zanu PF and the opposition. For five years, Zimbabwe enjoyed general political harmony and unfortunately missed a chance to conduct, for the first time, a genuine, inclusive and effective healing and reconciliation process to deal with the conflicts that date back to colonial times.
For those that suffered in 2008, and perhaps in the previous political and social conflicts, the memories remain vivid. It is, therefore of great concern that over the past two months, the Zanu PF government, which was the major perpetrator of the 2008 electoral violence and other forms of atrocities before that, is on a systematic drive to intimidate citizens, especially those in rural areas ahead of the 2023 elections.
What is more worrying is that Zanu PF ward leaders who are holding meetings, mostly in the Mashonaland, Masvingo and Manicaland provinces are promising that the party, together with the state security agents will unleash violence the same way they did in 2008 if Zanu PF loses in the 2023 elections.
So far, Zanu PF has been responsible for 165 human rights violations in April and 193 in May, all related to how the party is closing down the space for opposition activity.
In one of the cases recorded in Mt Darwin East at Chaparira village, Zanu PF activists led by Christopher Mbereko allegedly besieged the home of a Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) supporter Tendai Kurauone* on the night of 14 May and attacked him, leaving him seriously injured. The Zanu PF youths accused the man of working with CCC cheerleader,
Godfrey Karembera known as Madzibaba veShanduko. *name altered to protect the victim