INTRA-PARTY violence that rocked President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF in the acrimonious push to ouster of political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere dominated a report by rights watchdog, the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) covering the month of April.
The ruling party is also reported to have forced desperate Zimbabweans, struggling to access cash in banks, to contribute towards the Independence Day celebrations, while Vice-Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko are also implicated in the report.
“This year’s independence celebrations resulted in human rights violations both before and after the event in terms of political harassment and intimidation cases perpetrated by ruling Zanu PF party supporters and some community leaders.
“There were reports of people forced to contribute money, livestock or other food items towards the independence celebrations. Those who failed to contribute were accused of being opposition party supporters and unspecified action was threatened against them,” the report said. “The demand for cash and other contributions took place as the cash liquidity crunch intensified. Queues at most financial institutions got longer, while it was not surprising for clients to be offered cash in the form of bond coins as the bond note disappeared.”
The recent demonstrations by Zanu PF activists demanding that Kasukuwere be expelled reportedly for undermining Mugabe left some injured, as rival factions struggled for control of the party.
“There were intra-party violence cases reported particularly in the ruling Zanu PF party, where succession disputes are reported to have left political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere on the verge of being ousted.
“The process has often been a violent one characterised by intimidation, harassment and in some instances physical violence. In Harare, three people suffered broken limbs after pro-Kasukuwere and anti-Kasukuwere supporters clashed. A ZPP team member, who was taking pictures of the marches, was taken into a police van and ordered to delete pictures before being released,” the report added.
While Mugabe reportedly issued a demonstration prohibition through Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs minister Martin Dinha, ZPP argued both have no legal authority to do so.
Mnangagwa has been criticised for claiming that the ruling party was “fumigating” itself from political miscreants.
He made the remarks at the burial of the late Chiwundura legislator, Kizito Chivamba in Gweru. Chivamba was convicted of the attempted murder of former Gweru mayor Patrick Kombayi after the 1990 general election, but was pardoned by Mugabe.
Mnangagwa’s colleague, Mphoko also came under fire after inviting the military to deal with Mugabe’s critics especially from the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association.
The ZPP for April report shows a total of 123 violations up from March’s 112.
“The month under focus had 798 victims altogether. Of these victims, those affiliated to the MDC-T stood at 3,4 % which translates to 27 people, while those affiliated to Zanu PF are 19.