Food, farm inputs politicised
Written by Vusimuzi Bhebhe
Saturday, 04 December 2010 13:45
HARARE – Zanu (PF) has intensified the politicisation of food aid and
farm input distribution as part of a wider campaign to victimise and
intimidate opponents ahead of elections tentatively set for next year.
According to the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), incidents of aid
politicisation have been rampant in Lupane West, Hwange West and Binga
South districts of Matabeleland North province.
“Matabeleland North recorded cases of harassments mostly around the
issue of partisan distribution of food and other forms of aid with
victims being denied access to aid,” the group said.
The campaign to cow opponents ahead of polls likely to take before
mid-2011 has also seen a spike in incidents of political violence
across the country, with ZPP saying it recorded 896 cases of violence
and human rights abuses – including assault, intimidation, rape and
torture – in October compared to 869 such incidents recorded in the
The ZPP said Zanu (PF) militia have set up torture camps in
Mashonaland Central province in a sign of worse things to come.
“Torture bases have also been established in Mashonaland Central in
the areas of Muzarabani and Bindura North constituencies leaving
villagers terrified,” said the ZPP in its report on political violence
and human rights abuses for the month of October.
The report also showed the intensification of a terror campaign by the
army against supporters of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s
The ZPP said soldiers are openly campaigning for President Robert
Mugabe, telling the villagers they would be killed if they do not vote
for Zanu (PF).
“Military presence in communities has been a source of constant fear
for villagers, who anticipate a repeat of the 2008 electoral violence
at the hands of the Zanu (PF) militias and serving members of the
army,” the ZPP said.
In Mashonaland East province, soldiers at Joko Army Barracks near
Mutoko have resorted to taking their training drills to the villages
instead of their secluded military base in a move meant to instil fear
among the hapless villagers.
The ZPP also said traditional chiefs from Manicaland province were
summoned to a “indoctrination workshop” where the Brigadier-General
Douglas Nyikayaramba told them to support Zanu (PF) or they would be
deposed from their positions.
Zimbabwe is next year looking to hold a referendum on a new
constitution followed by elections that many analysts have warned
could see a return to violence without political, security and
Zimbabwe’s elections have been characterized by political violence and
gross human rights abuses with the last vote in 2008 ending
inconclusively after the military-led campaign of violence and murder
that forced then opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to withdraw from
a second round presidential ballot.
A power-sharing government formed by Mugabe and Tsvangirai after the
flopped poll was tasked to stabilise the economy, easy political
tensions and write a new and democratic constitution that would ensure
future elections are free and fair.
The coalition government has scored well on the economy but has
struggled on the political front with constitutional reforms marred by
reports of violence and intimidation, while security forces have
continued to threaten the rule of law and human rights.