A local human rights group has warned of a recurrence of the 2008 election violence, saying a crackpdown on civic society organisations pointed towards more repression as polls drew nearer.
REPORT BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
“The State’s crackdown on NGOs (non-governmental organisations) dealing with human rights and governance issues has raised fears that the party controlling the State’s coercive apparatus is planning large-scale State-sponsored and organised politically motivated human rights abuses similar to the June 2008 debacle in the coming elections,” the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) said in a recent report.
A number of civic society activists have been arrested since January and their organisations raided by the police.
The police crackdown on civil society organisations in recent months has drawn the ire of the two MDC formations who say it raises questions over the holding of free and fair elections.
ZPP said Zanu-PF’s membership recruitment drive, especially the door-to-door campaigns, was spreading fear, since party activists were demanding that people volunteer their personal information to them.
“Zanu PF’s membership registration drive reportedly turned into a source of conflict as bullish members of the party seeking to meet ambitious targets resorted to forcing unwilling people tocomplete the form, which required private and personal information thereby violating people’s right to privacy,” reads the report.
ZPP said it had received reports from across the country that Zanu PF youths were forcing people to attend meetings where membership forms were distributed and completed.
“Another intrusive method allegedly adopted by Zanu PF in its membership drive was sending activists on a door-to-door campaign where they drop the data forms and demand that every member of the household of voting age complete one,” the report continues. Zanu PF structures have rolled our door-to-door campaigns countrywide with the party’s Bulawayo province launching theirs last week.
Richard Moyo, the Zanu PF Matabeleland North chairman, told NewsDay last week that the province will launch its door-to-door campaigns soon.
Matabeleland South launched its campaign early this year.