The violence escalated tensions in Zimbabwe ahead of the August elections

The violence escalated tensions in Zimbabwe ahead of the August elections

Zimbabwe’s main opposition citizens party, Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), led by Nelson Chamisa, has alleged that some of its members are staying away from their homes following a wave of violence allegedly inflicted by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ruling Zanu-PF party in some parts of the country. from the country. Country.

This comes despite Mnangagwa using every available opportunity to advocate for peace and non-violence ahead of the August 23 elections, when more than six million registered voters will get a chance to elect a president, parliamentarians and municipal representatives.

People affected by the violent attacks include CCC candidates running for council seats in rural wards. They say people with links to the ruling party visit their homes and threaten residents.

Read more at The Daily Maverick: Opposition supporters in Zimbabwe are feeling the sharp edge of the Zanu-PF knife in the run-up to the elections

William Mutondoro, who lives in Goto District, Masvingo Province, is one such candidate. He said, “Now I am living in the bush and have no access to food, water and other social amenities for fear of being attacked by Zanu-PF thugs. I have not had any food since I left home four days ago. Zanu-PF knows very well that CCC is popular in this District, so she wants to instill fear in the rural population before the elections. Why would they attack people if they are famous? I don’t know what the future holds for my family, but I hope we win the popular vote against all odds.”

“I have raised the issue with our party’s social welfare department in Harare so that I can get help with basic needs,” Mutondoro added, speaking by phone from an undisclosed location.

fled to the mountains

In Chipengi district of Manicaland province, about 450km east of the capital, Harare, opposition council candidates such as Brighton Nyanis said they were attacked by suspected ZANU-PF members dressed in ruling party uniforms, during a constituency meeting.

Zanu-PF members attacked us without any provocation. Our children were also threatened, so we have since fled to the mountains because we fear they can attack our homes at night. As a result of the threats, the children no longer attend school.

If the violence is not nipped in the bud, it will spread across the country, according to CCC Gift deputy spokesperson Ostallos Siziba.

Zanu-PF wants elections to be held as a ritual without democracy. As we speak, Zanu-PF has declared a de facto one-party state. It has suspended the Charter of Rights, in particular the freedoms of assembly, expression and association.

ZANU-PF Director of Information Tafadzwa Majadi denied the allegations.

“The opposition is ready for defeat. Why does Zanu-PF strike its supporters? We have the support of the majority of the people, so there is no need to strike them. Our development path speaks for itself. The opposition has nothing to offer, hence this defamation,” Mojjadi said.

National Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said a special investigation unit had been set up to deal with cases of political violence ahead of the elections.

Said political analyst Dr. Urayi Zambi Daily Maverick The escalation of violence could take the country back to the era of 2008, when several MDC supporters led by the late Morgan Tsvangirai were murdered by suspected civil servants ahead of a presidential runoff election. Tsvangirai withdrew from the second round of voting, arguing, “I can’t go to the State House over dead bodies.” Then he formed a unity government with his opponent, Robert Mugabe.

Mnangagwa vs Chamisa

The situation could worsen if corrective action is not taken urgently, Zembi warned, adding that Zano PF was panicking.

“The state’s violence against members of opposition parties and civil society organizations shows that the ZANU-PF is about to lose the elections on August 23, 2023. We are already seeing violence against citizens in the direction of [the] The bloody 2008 elections, but this time the people will win and the dictatorship will fall because it has become a citizen-driven electoral struggle for democracy and good governance.

The rural violence comes as a local think tank, the Public Opinion Institute (MPOI), released a study on July 10. Mnangagwa is ahead of his rivals in the upcoming elections.

However, a new poll, conducted by Elite Africa Research in June, found that Chamisa would win by a margin of between 8% and 9% if the elections were free and fair.

Support for Chamiza is waning, said Zimbabwean academic Vilani Zamchia, if the MPOI study is anything to go by.

This marks Chamisa’s first vote drop since becoming opposition leader. When Chamiza took office from Tsvangirai, only 16% freely expressed their intentions to vote for him, but this rose dramatically to 33% by June 2022… On the other hand, the poll shows that Mnangagwa’s support base has increased by 2% since June 2022 This is turning the tide because there has been a systematic pattern in Mnangagwa’s vote decline since he took power from Mugabe in a military coup, Zamchia said.

Electoral issues

Many Zimbabweans say the Mnangagwa administration has done disappointingly in addressing key issues such as unemployment, water supplies, corruption, and economic management.

Mnangagwa management blames everything, Including the country’s poor economic performanceOn sanctions imposed by the West over Zimbabwe’s poor human rights record and electoral fraud.

Harari argues that he is being punished for initiating land reforms that have displaced more than 400 white commercial farmers from their properties and left thousands of farm workers without income.

Many economists blame Zimbabwe’s economic downturn on a chaotic land reform program that has fragmented productive land for new, under-resourced farmers. DM

This article first appeared in The Daily Maverick’s weekly sister publication DM168 and is available nationwide for R29.


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