A Nation in Agony

The Zimbabwe Peace Project’s December monitoring report gives an overview of criminal activities by state security agents explores the impending by-elections and highlights politically motivated and related violence. Read on to get more.

In Cold Blood

In the month of December, members of the state security killed seven people in three of the four fatal incidents. In Gweru, a soldier shot and killed a man who had strayed into a cantonment area while, two soldiers allegedly shot dead a man in a US$40 000 robbery heist that occurred in Hatfield, Harare and in Mhondoro-Ngezi, a soldier accused by members of the public of being in a sexual relationship with a minor, opened fire into a crowd, killing five and injuring three.

On December 26, five police officers allegedly assaulted a Budiriro man to death. Percy Dick (31), was going for a routine medical check-up in the company of his children when the police stopped his vehicle and a dispute arose. Police officers then allegedly assaulted Dick, who succumbed to the injuries sustained. On Christmas eve, at Mbalabala Growth Point in Insiza, soldiers reportedly beat up people and vandalized revellers’cars indiscriminately following a bar brawl. These are just a few of the incidents involving state security agents who took the law into their own hands in December, and it appears the cases continue to increase unabated. Police brutality was also prevalent as the force battles to maintain order after the relaxation of lockdown regulations.

Litmus Test

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has proclaimed March 26 as the date for by elections to fill vacancies for 105 local council and 28 national assembly seats. This means there is just three months for the registration, nomination, campaigning and the actual voting to take place. ZPP wishes to register its points of concern, and to make a call on government and all political players to ensure the by elections are conducted in free, fair and credible manner. These by elections by all means, are a test of what the national presidential, parliamentary and council elections will be in 2023.

As we look back, we note that State sponsored electoral violence targeting opposition party members prior to elections has remains a recurring phenomenon. New challenges to campaigning rights towards elections have emerged, such as deploying uniformed forces to disrupt opposition gatherings, hate speech, discrimination and physical violence. In previous years, the opposition political parties had not been able to establish themselves or expand their operation in order to capture the hearts of the rural populace where the majority of the electorate resides.

The hegemonic ruling party system has given rise to the cultivation of executive tyranny and negation of constitutional principles. State security agents are being used to pursue a partisan agenda, which compromises their constitutional responsibility to protect the rights of all citizens. Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) have been on a spree disrupting Movement for Democratic Change Alliance (MDC Alliance) gatherings, campaigning and community dialogues. State agents have applied the law selectively in favor of the ruling party.

Read the full publication here (1MB PDF)

Source: Zimbabwe Peace Project

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