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March Characterised By Political Violence And Intimidation

Human rights advocacy group, the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) says the month of March was characterised by violent activities in the run up to the March 26 by-elections with losing Zanu PF candidates accused of demanding back handouts they doled out potential voters during the campaign period.

In its monthly report for March 2022, ZPP said Zanu PF activists harassed those who supported opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) in the run up to the by elections.

“In Dangamvura-Chikanga and Bindura North, losing Zanu PF candidates went around demanding back the mealie meal they doled out to people during the campaign period while in Kwekwe, some vendors have been evicted from their stalls. At Chikurubi Maximum Prison in Harare East, prison wardens are being victimised after Tendai Biti of the CCC got more votes than his losing rival, Mavis Gumbo,” ZPP said.

The report says there was an increases in cases of intimidation with CCC supporters targeted for wearing their party colours.

“There was a general increase in cases of intimidation and politicization of aid and individuals who showed support for the newly formed opposition CCC were targeted. While in the past, wearing anything with the colour red during election time was not the safest thing to do, as it was associated with the MDC formations, it appears the colour yellow is the new red.

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“Fresh from rejoining Zanu PF, former war veterans leader and terror architect Jabulani Sibanda convened a meeting in Murehwa with war veterans and Zanu PF supporters and ordered them to contribute money that would be used to fund the Zanu PF youths to disrupt CCC campaigns in the province.

“In Mudzi, Zanu PF activists have effectively barred villagers from wearing yellow and those that do so face threats, harassment and assault while in Murehwa, Zanu PF activists are reportedly barring CCC members from mobilizing and engaging with supporters,” reads the report

ZPP said the threats cannot be taken lightly as during the heat of previous election periods, opposition supporters have been killed and some have had their houses burnt down.

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