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'2018 Zimbabwe General Election Set to Record Intensive Violence'

FILE: Armed Zimbabwean police battle rioters in Harare, Monday, July, 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

The Zimbabwe Exiles Forum claims that the 2018 general election will be gripped by violence as suspected state security agents allegedly continue brutalizing people who oppose 92 year-old President Robert Mugabe’s rule.

The organization’s director, Gabriel Shumba, told reporters in Johannesburg that their assessment of the current political situation in Zimbabwe indicates that the next election won’t be free and fair.

Shumba said, "It is dangerous for the country to hold an election without addressing fundamental issues related to holding a free and fair election.”

He said, “Zimbabweans are still not free to express their opinion. There are a lot of people that have been abducted and some that have been severely beaten by suspected state security agents.

“Before even talking about the election, we need to have a conducive environment in rural areas where people will be free to vote for a person of their choice. Right now the situation on the ground is very bad …”

A member of the Zimbabwe Exiles forum, Janet Munakamwe, added that lack of a proper voters’ roll is likely to cause friction among parties as President Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF party is expected to meddle in the compilation of the register.

They appealed to the Southern African Development Community, African Union, United Nations and other international organizations to monitor the political situation in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe’s last election was declared free and fair by some African groups and largely condemned by the West, which declared it a sham.

President Mugabe has been in power since Zimbabwe attained independence from British rule in 1980.