THE Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) has expressed concern over the upsurge in cases of intraparty clashes with 299 cases recorded in the month of July as the country’s main political parties Zanu PF and MDC-T gear for their respective elective congresses.
The ZPP said violence reports had shot up from 188 recorded in June this year.
The peace monitors attributed the surge to factional fights among party members, adding that these had contributed to “a significant rise in the number of politically-motivated human rights violations” during the month.
The report said Zanu PF’s decision to set new election guidelines barring party members with less than five years’ service from contesting central committee posts at its December elective congress had set the stage for fierce power struggles.
The ZPP said the recent nomination of First Lady Grace Mugabe to lead the Zanu PF Women’s League had stoked fires in the ruling party with other supporters questioning her political credentials.
“The move set the tone for fierce fighting for positions ahead the party’s Women’s League and Youth League conferences,” the report reads in part.
“The party’s regulations stipulate that for one to be elected into the Women’s League, they should have been a member of the party for the past 20 years and also have previous records of serving at national level.”
The report also noted that the battle for control of the MDC-T between Morgan Tsvangirai and former secretary-general Tendai Biti had also torched intra-party violence.
“Violence on resettled farms continued during the month when Zanu PF Goromonzi South MP Petronella Kagonye was implicated in a violent land wrangle with over 7 000 party supporters,” the report said.
Kagonye was accused of attempting to grab housing stands she had earlier allocated to over 7 000 Zanu PF members ahead of last year’s harmonised elections.
ZPP also expressed concern at reports of continued farm invasions long after the government had finalised the controversial land reform, with a group of soldiers currently said to be camped at Piedmont Farm in Matepatepa, Bindura, after chasing away the white farmer.
The report also condemned security forces’ use of brute force to quell disturbances at Chingwizi Transit Camp in Masvingo where villagers had allegedly burnt down two police vehicles in protest against the forced relocation of their clinic.