THE Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) has expressed concern over rising tribal tensions and intra-party fights as the country gears for the 2018 general elections.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
The ZPP, in its latest violence-monitoring report released last week, said tribal fights were rampant in all the main political parties.
“The tensions between Shona and Ndebele have continued and are evidencing themselves in intra-party fights and use of hate speech, and in Zanu PF, the absence of a respected senior Ndebele voice with the stature of the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo or Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa in the leadership has exposed the limitations of the Unity Accord,” the ZPP report read.
“Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko, by virtue of being Zanu PF’s second secretary, has faced resistance and ridicule from within including questioning of his leadership seniority credentials.”
ZPP said the Shona “dominance” and narrative would remain contested as more groups were emerging to challenge that tribal hegemony such as Vukani Mahlabezulu, Imbovane Yamahlabezulu, Mthwakazi Action Group on Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing, Mthwakazi People’s Congress and the recent declaration of a Ndebele kingdom.
“The genuine failure to address historical grievances continues to support their agenda and narratives. Gukurahundi and its effects are still fresh and a daily reality experienced through poor service delivery, such as failure to access national documents, absence of emotional closure, continued State-sanctioned denial and subterfuge explanations.”
ZPP said tribal divisions were also manifesting themselves in senior recruitment and appointments in government, which were believed to be decided on the basis of ethnicity more than competence.
ZPPs said intra-Shona tensions were more pronounced in Zanu PF as the battle for the Presidency raged on.
“Shona groups are diverse, including the Karanga, Manyika, Zezuru, Korekore and Ndau. The leadership of Zanu PF has been seen as predominantly Zezuru.
“The Karanga are suggesting that ‘now it’s their time to rule’. During political rallies, statements celebrating the invisibility of one ethnic group over the other have been recorded”.
First Lady Grace Mugabe was also recorded in July at a rally in Matabeleland North declaring that the opposition MDC-T must not be allowed in that province.
“In the MDC-T, the July 2016 appointment of two vice-presidents, Nelson Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri, has been widely interpreted as ethnic balancing, and an insult to VP Thokozani Khupe, a Ndebele and female,” ZPP said.