Thursday, November 30, 2023

45 cases of violence, intimidation recorded in Masvingo during August elections

Beverly Bizeki

Masvingo Province recorded 45 cases of political violence towards and during elections some of which are assault, arrests, intimidations and abductions, with Zanu PF and its affiliate organization Forever Associates of Zimbabwe (FAZ) being fingered as major perpetrators.
A post-election report released by Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development Trust (COTRAD) has shown that politically motivated violence is a common feature in Zimbabwe with violence cases going to extremes such as disruption of opposition political party rallies.
“The ruling party Zanu PF and its affiliate organizations, Forever Associates of Zimbabwe (FAZ) and Heritage were fingered as major perpetrators of violence. Zimbabwe’s violence patterns shift and intensify towards the election period with political parties using violence to force people to support them.
“Some members of different communities were intimidated and victimized for attending meetings organized by opposition political parties as well as civil society organizations by FAZ. They were accused of supporting the opposition political parties and mobilizing citizens to vote for the party,” reads the report.
The police were also said to be involved in intimidations as they fired teargas at people during opposition party rallies despite the ruling party conducting all its rallies without the interference of FAZ and the police with cases reported to police having no results.
“The republic police (riot) disrupted opposition political party rallies by firing teargas at innocent supporters at rallies. A number of people were affected by the tear gas and some were hospitalized. The ruling party conducted all its planned campaigning rallies, with no challenges from the law enforcers.
“Masvingo Province also witnessed the burning of houses in Chiredzi district and a car was burnt to ashes in Mwenezi district by alleged FAZ and ZANU PF supporters. Many of the political violence cases were reported to the police but no arrests were made and in most cases victims were simply told that investigations were underway and nothing has been done up to now,” reads part of the report.
COTRAD noted a number of cases which included intimidations, assaults, death threats, abductions, burning of vehicles and houses, banning of political party rallies and arrests of opposition members by the republic police.
According to the report, Bikita province recorded four cases of intimidation, four of assault, one arrest and one abduction that of Godknows Jairos.
“Jairos a ward 30 CCC youth member in Bikita was abducted and was later released by security agents,” reads the report.
Chivi recorded one case of intimidation, four assaults and one arrest while Chiredzi recorded two intimidation cases, two arrests and two invasions.
In Gutu four assault cases were recorded, one intimidation and one arrest was made.
For Masvingo District, six intimidations were noted, four assaults and one arrest were recorded. The arrest made was that of two Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) contesting members Martin Mureri who is now Member of Parliament for Masvingo Urban and Pedzisai Gasva who was contesting for Masvingo West constituency.
“Mureri and Gasva were arrested for conducting door to door campaigns using vehicles and were charged with criminal nuisance and each was ordered to pay a fine of US $30. Interestingly Zanu PF candidate Wellington Mahwende and Ezra Chadzamira also campaigned using road shows and door to door but were never arrested by the police,” reads the report.
Zaka recorded four intimidation cases while Mwenezi recorded one intimidation, one assault, and one invasion.
COTRAD also revealed that FAZ accounted for 48 percent of the cases while ruling party supporters are accountable for 32 percent. Traditional leaders are responsible for 12 percent while the police are accountable for eight percent.
COTRAD urged the government of Zimbabwe to ensure that it lays a foundation of peace and harmony for the citizens by ending violations of human rights.
“The government of Zimbabwe should respect and provide the foundation for peace and harmony. They should make sure that every citizen lives a life worthy of a human being, a life of dignity. All the recorded human rights violations have led to disunity which does not encourage progress and unity. COTRAD calls for an end to the violation of human rights,” reads part of the report.

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