By Staff Reporter
ZANU PF continues to lead in perpetrating political violence across the country despite president Emmerson Mnangagwa’s vow that the ruling party is committed to a peaceful and credible election period.
The country holds general elections later this year and political parties are already campaigning for the ballot which comes after a controversial transfer of power last November which toppled long-term ruler Robert Mugabe.
Successor Mnangagwa has insisted that the elections will be credible, free and fair.
However, the latest Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) report blames the ruling party for continued abuses against opponents last month.
According to the report, 78% of those implicated in rights violations in January were identified to be Zanu PF followers.
This is in sharp contrast with Zanu PF affiliated victims who comprise just 3% of the list.
The opposition MDC-T, as has been the case in past cases, remains the most violated in terms of 108 recorded rights abuses which produced a total 655 victims across the political divide.
“Of these victims,” says the ZPP report, “those from the Zimbabwe People First (Zim PF) were 20 people 6.4%, and those affiliated to the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) stood at 34% which translates to 107 people.
“Of the victims only 3% were affiliated to Zanu PF while 6% were affiliated to ZimPF. 34% were affiliated to the Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai while the remaining 56% were not affiliated to any known political party.
“The high number of non-affiliated victims points to changing political dynamics in which there is increased involvement of citizens who are not aligned to political parties in political activism.
“134 perpetrators were affiliated to the ruling Zanu PF party which is 78% of the figure. The MDC-T recorded 9 perpetrators while 5 perpetrators were serving Zimbabwe Republic Police officers and a war veteran.”
Most of the reported cases were acts of harassment and intimidation of opposition political activists. Other prominent cases were those of deprivation of state-sponsored food aid and inputs for farming.
Victims either had their political meetings disrupted or were harassed or intimidated into joining other political parties. Some victims were deprived of food aid.
Although not exhaustive, the ZPP monthly reports are often relied upon as a pointer to political violation trends in the country.
Since taking over power in November last year, Mnangagwa has pledged peace in a country that has regularly experienced political hostilities since independence.
But in attempts to demonstrate his commitment to peace, Mnangagwa has signed into law, the National Peace and Reconciliation Bill which has operationalised the NPRC.
However, speaking at a panel discussion at SAPES Trust last Thursday, PDP President and MDC Alliance co-principal Tendai Biti predicted a bloody lead-up to this year’s harmonised elections.
Biti said the country’s military will not countenance a Zanu PF defeat and will use violence to counter a possible opposition victory.