Political Change Sparks Increased Violence

By Wisdom Mumera

Cases of political violence and intimidation have increased around the country since the November coup that ushered the new administration led by President Emerson Mnangagwa.

According to a comprehensive Election Resource Center (ERC) Monitoring and Observation report of the registration exercise, the days after the removal of former President Robert Mugabe have seen cases of voters being intimidated and violence increasing.

This revelation has also been corroborated by a Heal Zimbabwe report which details more cases of violence in the country.

ERC,  an election monitoring organization says political violence has spiked up in phase 4 of the ongoing Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) registration exercise.

“Political changes in November 2017 ushered in a new administration in government and cases of intimidation and violence, which were minimal during phase 3, were reported in phase 4.”

“Reports received from Sanyati, Gweru and Murewa districts revealed that political party members were recording serial numbers on registration confirmation slips.”

“Additionally, citizens in Caledonia (Goromonzi South) expressed concern over voter registration officials residing at the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU PF) Chairman’s residence,” it said.

Heal Zimbabwe also supports that cases of violence are being recorded in both urban and rural areas and are both intra and inter party involving mainly MDC- T and ZANU PF supporters.

“On 10 January 2018, ZANU PF members, in Zaka East ward 31, Obert Sunamisai, Doubt Chitokwani, Forgive Chitokwane and Kumbirai Chitokwane assaulted MDC-T member Amos Kumire accusing him of supporting the MDC-T party.”

“On 26 December 2017, two ZANU PF youth led by ZANU PF ward chairperson for ward 10 Marondera, Obadiah Chisango heavily assaulted four MDC-T youth at Mahusekwa Business center in Marondera West ward 10.

According to the organization, “the ZANU PF youth accused the MDC-T youth of being ‘sell-outs’ and organizing unsanctioned meetings in the ward.”

On 2 January 2018, deadly clashes also erupted near the MDC-T party headquarters in Harare between MDC-T youths and cell phone traders from Ximex complex.

Phase 4 of the registration exercise ended on 19 December and a mop-up exercise which started on 10 January will conclude on February 8

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