HomeNewsCCJP slams Zanu PF poll intimidation

CCJP slams Zanu PF poll intimidation

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THE Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) has slammed the politicisation of food handouts after the holding of the July 31 harmonised elections.

BY STAFF WRITER

In statement on the elections yesterday, the CCJP castigated post-election targeting being perpetrated mainly by traditional leaders showing bias in food distribution where perceived opposition members were being excluded from being beneficiaries.

“In the pre-election period, some traditional leaders began to use their influence to force communities to support their political parties by organising meetings where they would tell villagers to vote for Zanu PF otherwise they would not receive humanitarian aid, would be beaten, killed or their homes burnt worse than 2008 and they would be evicted from their villages,” read the CCJP report.

CCJP also said the polls were manipulated using traditional leaders, war veterans and political activists.

“They also held meetings at Kazangarare, Nyaumbare and Kamutsamombe villages where they insisted that those supporting MDC were illiterate and needed to be ‘assisted’ in voting and as a result those threatened, and many who heard these threats decided it was safer to vote for Zanu PF rather than to lose their lives, homes and limbs as happened in 2008.”

The CCJP singled out war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda as one of the people instrumental in instilling fear on people by conniving with chiefs, headmen and village heads to hold meetings between 2011 and 2013 where they issued threats on political opponents.

“His threats were frightening for the people as he threatened greater violence than they had experienced in 2008. He even threatened another liberation war if Zanu PF lost the coming elections. He often appeared at meetings flanked by a bodyguard wielding a gun, a scene that reinforced his message,” CCJP said.

“Ward-based elections were said to limit the freedoms of people in politically-polarised communities whereby when results were posted at polling stations they were analysed by local political extremists who then targeted those who voted for a party different from their own.

“It is acknowledged that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission exercised relative professionalism in accrediting observers, opening and closing of polling stations and the general administration of the voting processes, but these achievements were weakened by its failure to provide the voters’ roll as required by the Constitution,” it added.

The CCJP said the 2013 harmonised elections were conducted in an environment significantly compromising the free expression of people in making their political choices, adding even after elections there were no visible prospects for improvements in the spheres of life in Zimbabwe.

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