The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) has expressed concern over the volatile political atmosphere in the country as incidents of politically motivated human rights violations shot up to 1 014 in June from 994 recorded in May.
In its summary on political and food-related violations, ZPP said Midlands province recorded the highest number of incidents, pegged at 214, up from 201 in May. The province witnessed an increase in assault, harassment and intimidation cases while Mashonaland East recorded a drop from 188 to 172 reported cases.
“Incidents of intra-party violence within Zanu PF were also recorded in the province where the political party leadership are accusing some of their elected MPs of supporting the MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai,” said the report.
Manicaland, though still with a high number of violations, saw a decline from 200 in May to 142. Masvingo witnessed a rise to 152 from 108, Mashonaland Central recorded a slight decrease from 135 to 123 regardless of what the report describes as “high levels of political intolerance”, while Mashonaland West recorded 91 incidents up from 87 mainly a result of intra-party feuds within Zanu PF and the MDC-T.
Zanu PF upped its campaign mode in Harare and, consequently, there was a marked increase in cases reported in June (85) compared to May (49). “There was also a partisan and selective application of the law by the police in favour of Zanu PF as evidenced by the arrests of MDC-T activists and officials during the month,” the report said, adding that police continued to target MDC-T activists after the murder of Inspector Petros Mutedza in May.
Matabeleland North recorded 16 incidents, up from 11. Bulawayo, the least affected, only had six incidents reported. The report cites Zanu PF supporters as the leading perpetrators, although some of the violations have been attributed to MDC-T.
“There were also reports of inter and intra-party fighting from across the country within Zanu PF and the MDC-T. The infighting within Zanu PF has been ongoing as new candidates are facing stiff resistance from the party’s heavyweights in the fight to represent the party during the next general elections,” said ZPP.