Mash East worst affected by Zanu PF election abuses, rights commission

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By Mashonaland East Correspondent

A Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) probe into claims of election related rights violations ahead of the country’s July 30 harmonised elections has seen opposition supporters in Mashonaland East emerge as the most abused Zimbabwean citizens by confirmed Zanu PF politicians and supporters.

According to the ZHRC report just released, the commission managed to record 77 incidents of voter intimidation during the period leading up to a poll that has often been described as the most peaceful since independence.

They include electoral interference, voter intimidation, partisan food distribution and other forms of violence.

Mashonaland East tops the list with 21 violations with Manicaland being second with 16.

The rest of the provinces had below 10 cases each.

Cited cases were those that occurred in Goromonzi North, Murewa West, Wedza South constituencies where opposition supporters were told to vote for Zanu PF or risk seeing their homes destroyed.

People who masqueraded as soldiers also threatened villagers if Zanu PF candidate Noah Mangondo lost Murewa South.

Zanu PF was fingered in all cited cases.

“The findings of the investigations by ZHRC confirmed allegations made by complainants concerning Zanu PF political party members unfairly discriminating against community members from other political parties in receiving food aid or presidential inputs,” the commission said.

ZHRC said it confirmed the cases at a GMB depot in Mucheke where bags of rice were only distributed to Zanu PF members only.

The report also accused then Murewa South aspiring MP Joel Biggie Matiza and his campaign team of buying votes through the distribution of presidential inputs only at Zanu PF gatherings.

The practice was also experienced in Murewa South.

“A total of 38 out of 77 cases concerned matters of intimidation where the electorate were compelled to vote for Zanu PF or risk infliction of bodily harm or injury or destruction of their property, in contravention of section 133A (a and c) of the Electoral Act.

“Traditional leaders and Zanu PF political party leaders were identified and confirmed as perpetrators of these violations.”

Added the rights commission, “Zanu PF political party members and traditional leaders were identified as perpetrators through distribution of goods at Zanu PF gatherings and rallies only, thereby unfairly discriminating against other members of the community who belonged to different political parties.”

The reports by the rights commission also tally with most of those released by foreign missions that observed the country’s elections July 30.

Zanu PF continues to deny accusations of food discrimination and intimidation on political opponents.