Zimbabwe Peace Project applauds the ruling party in its bid to strengthen internal democracy. However, worrying trends were recorded which may recur during national elections and have the effect of blighting the harmonised elections due in a few months. The overly competitive environment in which the primary elections are being contested using the “winner take all” system have potential to exacerbate sources of conflict which could degenerate into violent conflict. Flawed and contested election outcomes may set the stage for bloody harmonised elections.
Zanu PF primary elections were extended to Monday April 30 owing to logistical inefficiencies that included the non-delivery in time of ballot papers. In areas such as Mberengwa South and Gokwe Central, ballot papers were delivered by helicopter. In other constituencies, elections were characterised by disagreements at polling stations. Such disagreements included irregularities of the cell registers that were being used as voters registers as well as counter accusations of factionalism.
Section 133G (a) of the Electoral Act states that all political parties shall take all appropriate measures to prevent politically-motivated violence and any electoral malpractises before, during and after the election period. It is in this light that the ZPP takes interest in the internal elections of the ruling party and appreciates the link between the internal conduct of political parties in conducting their elections and how this can have a bearing on the national elections.
The contentious issues recorded from all the districts ZPP monitored cases received were of conflict or violent conflict, vote buying accusations and alleged vote rigging.
Violence was recorded in Mazowe after disgruntled supporters of Martin Dinha looted a lorry containing grain belonging to another candidate, Tafadzwa Musarara. Cases of vote buying were reported in Mazowe, Chipinge and Hurungwe West. Reports of candidates buying beer for supporters in Hurungwe West and Mutoko were a cause for concern because it is often intoxicated supporters that engage in violence. Conflict also emanated from unresolved ruling party internal politics with rival candidates trading counter accusations of belonging to the G-40 faction which is resented in the party.
As the country continues to edge closer to elections, the ZPP continues to watch all elections with a view to zero tolerance for conflict and violent conflict before, during and after the elections. The ZPP continues to remind political parties about their responsibilities in contributing to peaceful elections and the commitments they made when they signed the Code of Conduct.
The ZPP has also received disturbing reports of the use of state resources such as helicopters for logistics and encourages political parties not to gain unfair advantages over others. If these resources have been hired from the state, it might be in the interest of transparency to declare this position to the electorate.
ZPP is a non governmental organisation that was founded in 2000 by a group of faith based and human rights NGOs working and interested in human rights and peace building initiatives. ZPP has become a vehicle for civic interventions in times of political crisis. In particular, ZPP seeks to monitor and document incidents of human rights violations and breaches of peace.
If you feel that your rights have been violated and in particular during the BVR exercise, ZPP encourages you to get in touch with us on Hotline and WhatsApp numbers +263 774 883 406 and +263 774 883 417 Toll Free: 080 80199
Source: Zimbabwe Peace Project