MDC-T tops in recorded cases of intra-party violence in Bulawayo as divisions within the party escalate while Zanu PF has the worst infighting in Matabeleland North, the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) has said.
NQOBILE BHEBHE/NQOBANI NDLOVU
According to its March report, the organisation that documents human rights abuses, said 156 violations mostly arising from internal clashes and between rival parties were recorded during the period under review.
ZPP said although the figures were low, the disappearance of activists without trace was worrying.
In Bulawayo, it said MDC-T intra-party violence was worrying and cited the assault of Bulawayo East MP Thabitha Khumalo who says she now lives in fear.
Khumalo was recently assaulted by suspected party youths in Mpopoma.
Tensions are high in the city following the decision to boycott the June 10 by elections that were called after MDC-T fired MDC-T Renewal MPs.
MDC-T deputy president Thokozani Khupe’s driver Witness Dube, was expelled from the party for allegedly assaulting Bulawayo East MP Dorcas Sibanda during a party meeting.
ZPP said in the southern region, Matabeleland North, had the highest cases of violence at 24% followed by Midlands (8%) and Bulawayo respectively.
Matabeleland South did not record any case of political violence during the period under review.
“While, MDC-T conflicts were more prevalent in Bulawayo in the month under review Zanu PF conflicts were noted in most provinces with conflicts in Matabeleland North topping the list,” ZPP said.
ZPP said on March 16 in Bubi’s Ward 20, Magetsini villager Leeroy Dube of Zanu PF allegedly threatened a preacher with unspecified action after accusing him of preaching unity of political parties at a church crusade.
“According to the perpetrator, the preacher’s message was designed to make Zanu PF supporters desert their party,” the organisation said.
“He then claimed that the preacher had forthwith been banned from giving prayers at gatherings or prayer meetings.”
In one interesting case recorded in Matabeleland South, a female villager in Umzingwane was forced to join Zanu PF and given a position against her will.
“A Zanu PF party chairperson Ngazimbi Ncube of Umzingwane, Mawabeni Village, Ward 5, in Chief Gwebu area forced a female villager who has no known political affiliation to join Zanu PF to be co-opted into Zanu PF ward structures against her will.
“The perpetrator forced the victim to be the ward secretary, but she refused and reported the case at Mawabeni Police Station.
“The police are reported to have warned the perpetrator not to force the victim to take up a Zanu PF post against her will,” the report added.
Political violence has become entrenched in Zimbabwe and it usually worsens each time the country holds elections.