The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) in a press statement, noted with concern the rising cases of political intimidation and violence in Ward 41, Gutu West Constituency ahead of the national assembly by-elections scheduled for the 11th of November 2023.
ZimRights community human rights monitors have documented and reported an increase in this phenomenon.
“The alleged perpetrators are members of he ruling party (ZANU-PF) and its affiliates”, ZimRights repoted.
Political Intimidation is the use of threats, coercion, or attempts to intimidate for the purpose of interfering with the right of another person to vote or to vote for the person of their choice.
ZimRights said, “community human rights monitors in Masvingo received allegations that ZANU-PF member, Rashiel Bere from Ward 6, Mukwasi Primary School, also a member of the Forever Associates Zimbabwe (FAZ) organization is moving around with ZANU-PF aspiring candidates intimidating villagers and threatening to burn their houses if they vote for the opposition party”.
“This worrying trend threatens to derail citizens participation in democratic processes, resulting in voter apathy and anarchy”, ZimRights said.
Political intimidation poses a threat to democracy, human rights, social cohesion, and progress.
Rashiel Bere who is also allegedly selling out opposition party supporters in ward 41 Gutu west to the FAZ organisation advised all women and elderly people to act illetarate and not vote in the upcoming elections but submit their names to FAZ so that FAZ votes on their behalf.
The human rights defender also said, “In another case reported from Chatsworth shopping center in Gutu, a CCC member was beaten by ZANU-PF supporters after he was seen wearing a CCC T-shirt”.
The victim is reported to have identified one of the men who assaulted him as the young brother of ZANU-PF MP Candidate John Paradza, well known as (Boss Para).
ZimRights stated that, “This is a sad confirmation of findings of the ZimRights 2022 State of Peace Report, which highlights that over 50% of Zimbabweans are living in fragile peace, fearing the elections”.
It is against this background that ZimRights condemned, in strongest terms, the acts of political intimidation as it is in violation of citizens right to form, join and to participate in the activities of a political party and to make political choices freely as protected by Section 67 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.