3 Million Voices

“In April, ZPP recorded three incidents of disruption of political events, 88 cases
of harassment and intimidation, 23 cases of discrimination during aid
distribution, many of which point to an increase in tensions within communities.
It appears the silly season is upon us!
Judging by the incidents of human rights violations recorded in April
countrywide, the ruling Zanu PF party, which has always used brute methods to
garner support ahead of elections, appears to have gone a gear up in laying the
bed for the 2023 elections.
Just as in the past, the strategy has always been to shut down political space for
opposition parties elbowing them out of what is supposed to be their business,
way ahead of election time, such that when the official campaign period kicks off,
communities would have already been whipped into silence and fear.
Using its well-oiled internal structures and the ever-complicit state security
apparatus and traditional leaders, Zanu PF has in the past employed tactics such
as intimidation, harassment, threats, disruption of events, discrimination during
food aid processes and assault, among other methods.
In light of this, Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) in April recorded three incidents of
disruption of political events, 88 cases of harassment and intimidation, 23 cases
of discrimination during aid distribution, many of which point to an increase in
tensions within communities.
Judging by the pattern of the events, they are not coincidences, but a clearly
systematic drive towards the 2023 elections.
For example, in Harare, Mabelreign police disrupted an MDC-Alliance Harare
West Constituency Coordinating Committee meeting on 4 April and arrested and
briefly detained former Ward 16 Councillor Denford Ngadziore.
Two weeks later, on 24 April, police, without proffering any reason, disrupted
another MDC Alliance provincial meeting in Epworth.
Zanu PF and the MDC-T - an offshoot of the MDC Alliance which has given
official support to Zanu PF and government - have continued to conduct their
meetings with no disruptions except in cases where citizens spurn invitations to
attend MDC-T meetings.
On 24 April the police disrupted a clean-up campaign led by the 31 July
Movement convener and leader of Transform Zimbabwe, Jacob Ngarivhume in
Mbare.
In Chiwundura Constituency, at Muchakata, Vhuka Uzizenzele and Maodza
Business Centres, the revival of terror bases by Zanu PF is said to have
commenced.
In separate groups Zanu PF youths, acting on the command of their provincial
leadership, allegedly patrol the three centres and the entire community checking
if there are any individuals engaging in opposition politics.
On 16 April, a village head in Murehwa North convened a meeting in Ward 9 and
reportedly said that MDC Alliance supporters had no place in his village and that
they would not benefit from any government social welfare assistance until they
openly denounced the MDC Alliance.
Elsewhere, in Zaka Central Ward 19, on 15 April, a Mr Rupindo, who is a Zanu PF
Vice Chairperson for the Ward and an employee at Chemusisi Hospital allegedly
threatened to assault about 45 beneficiaries of the social welfare food aid if they
failed to chant ruling party slogans and cross the floor to Zanu PF. He reportedly
told beneficiaries that government aid was from President Emmerson
Mnangagwa and was meant for Zanu PF members only.
These and more incidents that ZPP has recorded in April and in the past point to
a gradually deteriorating political environment and with some Zanu PF officials
having declared the party will win the 2023 election by whatever means; this calls
for urgent interventions to ensure the run up to the elections is peaceful and that
human rights are observed, respected and defended while checks and balances
are in place in the interest of the citizens who are often the victims in the whole
political game.
The ZPP continues with its call for political tolerance and observance of the
Constitution, which guarantees civil and political freedoms to all Zimbabweans.

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