Human rights advocacy group, the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) says the month of June was characterized by an escalation of rights violations at the instigation of the ruling Zanu PF party with the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) also contributing.
According to the latest monthly monitoring report for June, ZPP said the continued attempts by the ruling party to shut down space for opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) was observed in various provinces.
“This June, Zanu PF continued to shut down the space for the opposition in Mashonaland West, East, Central and Masvingo provinces and perhaps the most prominent case is when suspected Zanu PF youths allegedly backed by Energy minister and Muzarabani North legislator, Soda Zhemu, and Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe attacked Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Vice President Tendai Biti as he was travelling from Muzarabani.
“According to information ZPP gathered, the Zanu PF district chairperson Emmerson Raradza, Muzarabani South Legislator Tapera Saizi and Zhemu, with the assistance of Kazembe organized a group of party youths and mobilized resources to converge and attack Biti, who is also Harare East legislator.
“It is alleged that Kazembe got information of Biti’s visit to Muzarabani through the police channels which he superintends. Kazembe allegedly went on to pass Biti’s travel details to Saizi and Zhemu, who organised the attack. With the plan finalised, it was shared with Rararadza and Central Intelligence Office operative identified as Hamunyari Kasengezi, who then allegedly organised vehicles to ferry party youths from Muzarabani North’s Wards 7, 8 and 9,” read the report
According to the human rights monitoring group the youths were allegedly given beer and food to carry out the attack and mounted a roadblock forcing Biti to make a u-turn back to Harare.
“This is just one of the prominent cases where the operating space for the opposition is being constricted ahead of the 2023 elections and in the past three months, ZPP has recorded over 20 incidents where Zanu PF local leaders or traditional leaders have deliberately taken action meant to intimidate opposition supporters.
“Based on this and more human rights violations recorded in June 2022, Zanu PF once again was ahead of the pack, contributing to over 43 percent of all violations while the Zimbabwe Republic Police followed behind at 24.4 percent,” ZPP said.