The political landscape continues to be awash with intolerance and bias, reports the Zimbabwe Police Project in its human rights monitoring study for August.
While members of the MDC-T are seen on the offensive in a few of the recorded instances, the ruling Zanu (PF) is the dominant perpetrator, a situation that continues to repeat itself.
Farm invasions reared their ugly head in areas across the country in incidents that displayed the impunity with which some members of the ruling party, including chiefs, who are supposed to be custodians of law and order in villages, take liberties with no apparent repercussions, says ZPP. “Illegal parcelling out of land continues to be a thorn in the side of local authorities who appear helpless in the face of Zanu (PF) ‘political privilege’ in claiming land to do as they please regardless of governing by-laws.”
The report records an incident in Nyatsime where a council surveyor going about his work looking for pegs which demarcate land was hounded out by a group of Zanu (PF) members who acted as if they were above the law and that land was their private preserve to do with as they wished.
“The biased allocation of parcelled out pieces of land as residential stands to members of Zanu (PF) ahead of those from other parties reek of a misplaced perception of ‘political privilege’. Invaded farms were taken over by members of the ruling party or their cronies.
By the same token, the illegal parcelling out of land going on through cooperatives and other unions, outside of councils’ provisions and sanction, in Mufakose and Kuwadzana, among other areas, also portrays how members of the ruling Zanu (PF) feel they have the ‘privilege’ to access land ahead of, and at the exclusion of, others who are at their mercy in efforts to secure land for themselves,” says the report.
ZPP also lamented the repeated demolition of homes, which is leaving hundreds of families stranded, and said this continued to be a major concern.
“A significant number of incidences show the right most denied to citizens is the one to personal integrity and human dignity. This was expressed through various forms of intimidation and harassment including verbal abuse, physical violence or the destruction of one’s possessions. In one instance of intra-party violence a woman who was seen wearing a wrap cloth with the face of former vice president Joice Mujuru was slapped in the face and had her wrap cloth torn up by a fellow Zanu (PF) member,” says the report.
In Viko Village in Nyanga North, a perceived MDC-T supporter was cut on the lip with a knife by a member of Zanu (PF), Tatenda Mapani, who was irked by the victim’s comment that he was a member of the party, which had “destroyed the country”. In Muzarabani, a Zanu (PF) supporter Kudakwashe Chifamba acting in apparent cahoots with his father Norman allegedly uprooted a fellow villager’s vegetables from his garden on the accusation that the villager did not attend ruling party meetings.
Not only does violence get pride of place on the political landscape, but it also gets rewarded. The report gives an account of an instance in Glen View South, where MP Pius Madzinga allegedly rewarded acts of violence during recent by-elections. Madzinga is said to have allocated residential stands only to those youths who had ‘violently’ campaigned for him to be legislator and side-lined those youths who had supposedly not campaigned for him. “Such acts grant and perpetuate the same misguided sense of ‘political privilege’ to land which is denied others,” said ZPP.