ZANU PF activists and its affiliate, Forever Associates Zimbabwe (FAZ), have been cited among leading perpetrators of political violence.
FAZ has been linked to the dreaded spy agency, Central Intelligence Organisation.
A report by Zimbabwe Human Rights Monitors Platform says the ruling party accounted for 74% of the recently documented cases of political violence ahead of next week’s harmonised elections.
Police have reported several cases of political violence and arson as campaigning heats up.
A Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) supporter was stoned to death by suspected Zanu PF supporters at a rally in Glen View, Harare, a fortnight ago.
A pre-election report titled Political Violence and Compromised Institutions released yesterday expressed fears of voter apathy due to rampant intimidation and political violence.
“What is particularly disconcerting is not only the prevalence of such acts, but also their systematic nature, often orchestrated by the ruling party and predominantly occurring in rural areas,” the report read.
“These incidents of political violence have not gone unnoticed, with Zimbabwean human rights monitors meticulously documenting 146 cases that have resulted in severe injuries.
“The majority of the cases point to Zanu PF as the perpetrators, who account for 108 (74%) cases and these violations mostly occur in rural areas.”
Zanu PF political commissar Mike Bimha yesterday condemned all forms of violence, saying the ruling party wanted peace to prevail before and after the elections.
“The President (Emmerson Mnangagwa) is on record, speaking at every gathering about upholding peace,” Bimha said.
“As Zanu PF, we do not condone or promote violence (by) whoever, be they party supporters, members or even members of the politburo. If we get reports about our members engaging in violence, we take action against them. But so far, we have not yet received any complaint against our members.”
CCC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere could not be reached for comment.
The human rights monitors said they documented 33 (91,1%) cases of physical violence and 13 (8,9%) related to verbal assaults or intimidation.
“The government should take concrete steps to end political violence and intimidation, including investigating and prosecuting perpetrators, providing protection to victims, and creating a climate of tolerance and respect for political differences,” they said.
“The government should ensure that independent institutions, such as the police, the Judiciary and the media are free from political interference and are able to carry out their functions without fear or favour.”
Meanwhile, 40 CCC activists were yesterday arrested at Machipisa in Highfield, Harare, for contravening provisions of the Maintenance of Order and Public Act.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said CCC convenor Lawrence Materege sought clearance for a rally at Churu Farm.
Materege and one Gladmore Hakata, instead, reportedly went on a car rally procession from Glen View into High Glen Road, turned into Main Road, then Machipisa Road and into Highfield suburb, only to stop at OK Machipisa traffic lights while blocking traffic.
Nyathi said the law enforcement agents then impounded three trucks and radio speakers that were being used by the CCC activists.