WASHINGTON DC —
The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) says levels of political intolerance have reached high levels in the country with opposition party members becoming agitated and being brutalized by suspected Zanu PF activists ahead of the 2018 general elections.
In its monthly report on human rights violations in Zimbabwe titled ‘Intolerance For Opposition’, ZPP said August was a difficult time for members of the Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai and former Vice President Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) party.
“At any other time political intolerance could go unnoticed or would not be prominent as it is this August … MDC-T and ZimPF are trying hard to grow their membership base especially in rural areas as they prepare for the 2018 general elections. Ironically, it is during this month that most rural communities are looking forward to food aid as most granaries are dry. In Zimbabwe failure to accept other political players is becoming a sad culture.
“Those that are in Zanu PF believe they deserve to use state resources and determine beneficiaries. The shocking levels of intolerance have gone beyond Zanu PF and opposition but between MDC-T and ZimPF as well.”
ZPP said on August 20 in Mashonaland East, MDC-T supporters went rogue
and started their own campaign “tinodawo mastands” (we also want residential stands). “The right to land has lost its universality as opposition political parties are sidelined in land distribution and redistribution. MDC-T youths have also become intolerant that they believe they are more deserving of rights more than other political party supporters.
“In Mt. Darwin North, people that are known to support ZimPF are called out by Zanu PF leadership, humiliated and told not to attend public gatherings. Some are forced to denounce their political parties. These are signs that 2018 elections preparations are in full gear. There are no attempts to foster development regardless of political affiliation.”
ZPP further noted that in Mutoko North at Masisi Primary School, the school development committee delved in identifying school cooks and the political parties they belong to, expelling one cook on grounds that he does not support Zanu PF.
The organization said a development meeting was disrupted in Mutoko South when the Member of Parliament, David Chapfika, said the agenda of the meeting should have included an aspect discouraging people from taking part in protests against the ruling government.
“The intolerance not only breeds physical violence between members of different political parties but the rot continues to spread to food distribution. On 12 August in Makoni North, a social worker from Chingono Village was victimized after refusing to sideline MDC-T supporters during food distribution. Opposition activists live in communities where their rights to shelter and food are violated.
“It is disconcerting to note that as granaries are dry more and more citizens are being denied food aid that is distributed by the Department of Social Welfare.”
According to ZPP, citizens’ freedom to demonstrate and petition is still at risk as police
continue to brutalize local people for engaging in any form of protest.
“Brutality linked to street protests have also followed known opposition and citizen movement activists to their homes raising red flags around risks of abduction and or kidnapping. Journalists have become victims of brutality in the conduct of their duties and some have languished in prison for several weeks.”
Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo was not available for comment.
President Robert Mugabe warned protesters recently that they would face the wrath of the law as their public activities were being allegedly sponsored by the West to effect regime change.
Protesters have been demanding that the president should step down for allegedly failing to run the country.