PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF, the police and military accounted for over 85% of political violence incidents that rocked Zimbabwe in August, a report has revealed.
The report, released by the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), paints a horrifying picture of how the security situation in the country continued on a downward spiral, with the ruling party and State institutions, mandated with protecting citizens, allegedly being the main culprits.
“In August the high percentage in State-sponsored perpetrators such as the ZRP [Zimbabwe Republic Police] (34,2%), ZNA [Zimbabwe National Army] (8,3%), and CIO [Central Intelligence Organisation] (1,2%) has remained relatively high, although July recorded a higher percentage for ZRP (63%).
“August has recorded a sharp increase in the total number of victims (1 401) as compared to July (647) and June (356),” ZPP said, adding that Zanu PF accounted for 42% of violence and rights abuse incidents.
But the opposition has not been saints either, with the report indicating that in St Mary’s, Chitungwiza, a group of four MDC-T supporters harassed a Zanu PF supporter, who was wearing a party T-shirt.
“The MDC-T youths ordered the Zanu PF youth to remove the T-shirt and blamed his party for causing hunger in the country. Prior to that, the youths were said to have also ordered another man, who was on a bicycle, to remove his Zanu PF cap,” the report read.
The report chronicles the volatile events in August that saw arrests, harassment and abductions across the country, mainly targeted at citizens protesting against Mugabe’s government.
Most of the victims of the violence, according to the report, were not aligned to any political party. ZPP said 77% of the victims were ordinary Zimbabweans unattached to any party, while 0,3% were police officers, 2% Zanu PF, 13,5% MDC-T, and 6,4% belonged to Zimbabwe People First.
From vendors’ leader, Standrick Zvorwadza’s numerous arrests and harassment to brutality against journalists and clergymen, the report highlighted Mugabe’s growing unease with dissent against his administration.
Police were last week caught in the eye of a storm after it emerged they had allegedly used live ammunition in dealing with protesters in Epworth and other densely-populated areas in Harare.
Meanwhile, Judge President Justice George Chiweshe yesterday postponed to next Monday, judgment in the two urgent chamber applications seeking to set aside the police ban on demonstrations in Harare’s central business district.
The two matters were filed by the Zimbabwe Divine Destiny, Democratic Assembly for Restoration and Empowerment, National Electoral Reform Agenda, Combined Harare Residents’ Association and Zvorwadza.
The parties are being represented by Advocate Fadzai Mahere of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and senior lawyers Tendai Biti and Dzimbabwe Chimbga.
Justice Chiweshe announced the judgment date after listening to oral submissions from all parties concerned.