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Zimbabwe Politics

Fear in Murewa as elections approach

Two Arrested For Selling Voter Registration Forms

Expressing political opinions in Murewa North, around 100 kilometers from Harare, might result in physical harm, imprisonment, or even death.

One of the places where the ruling Zanu PF party has retained power via intimidation and coercion with the aid of all state apparatus is in this one.

Associating with opposition parties has been dangerous during the previous 20 years.

All sorts of violence are directed at those who dare to announce their support to the opposition.

This strategy has been successful over time as the ruling party has won elections in Murewa North and the mostly rural province of Mashonaland East.

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However, other people, like 26-year-old Tinotenda Shumba*, who have previously experienced brutality, have nothing to lose.

Shumba is one of the few opposition activists who have resisted intimidation by Zanu PF militia, sympathisers, and state security personnel.

Shumba, a little child in 2008 when Zanu PF lost an election to the MDCT, then led by the now-deceased Morgan Tsvangirai, witnessed in horror as Zanu PF youths beat up his mother.

That image has persisted in his memory, and rather than breaking him, he added, “it has strengthened my resolve to seek justice for my mother.”

Shumba declared that he could not affiliate himself with a political group that brutalised his mother.

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“I believe one has the right to join any political party of their choice, and in this case, I have chosen to associate myself with the Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC),” the man declared.

Shumba has experienced violence on several occasions as a result of being a member of the opposition CCC.

Similar to Shumba, 74-year-old Maurice Seremani has taken the brunt of criticism for openly siding with the opposition.

He is one of the seven senior CCC activists that were attacked on January 6 by alleged Zanu PF members, and the chain of events was revealed through a stolen cell phone.

Political tensions in Murewa North have reportedly risen since Seremani and six other people were attacked, according to internet television network ZEEM TV.

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Daniel Garwe, a Zanu PF MP for Murewa North, “held a meeting in the area after the video went viral,” Shumba added.

According to Tinotenda, “He brought truckloads of Zanu PF members from all over the province, and some of them were singing songs of intimidation.”

One of the songs’ phrases was “Vanamukoma vanorova nematanda (The boys will beat you up with logs)”.

Even though he later condemned violence, he had already established the precedent for treating supporters of the opposition unfairly before to elections.

Sekuru Dongo, who was 79 years old, was one of those hurt during the unrest on January 6.

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Zimbabwe has a history of unsolved post-colonial wars, with the most notable one being the Gukurahundi murders, which saw the Fifth Brigade, who had received training from North Korea, kill an estimated 20 000 people.

Robert Mugabe, the president of Zimbabwe at the time, established the Chihambakwe Commision to investigate the Gukurahundi murders.

However, despite pressure from many industries, the study has not been made public.

It is still true that the Gukurahundi atrocities killed Zimbabwe’s sense of nationhood.

Healing and reconciliation are still unattainable goals, and the state continues to target pressure groups looking for a resolution.

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Ibetshu Likazulu activists were recently detained on December 22 of last year for hosting a ceremony to honour Gukurahundi massacre victims.

Bloody and contested elections that continue to feed Zimbabwe’s legitimacy issue have caused the nation to suffer once more.

Elections in Zimbabwe are still violent bloodbaths.

Activists from the ruling party continue to commit violent crimes with impunity, including torturing and killing members of the opposition.

200 opposition supporters are said to have died during the violent elections of 2008 at the hands of activists from the ruling party who had the backing of the government.

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In a blatant instance of state-sponsored terror, resources from the state were used to facilitate the eradication of opposition activists across the nation.

Due to the Zimbabwe Republic Police’s political behaviour and the governing party militia’s control of the courts, there was almost no way to bring the terror victims to justice.

This explains how those responsible for the horrible crimes—which included murder, rape, arson, torture, and other atrocities—have managed to evade justice and go free.

Senior Zanu PF leaders said that President Emmerson Mnangagwa is a soldier who will “shoot for power” before to the 2018 elections, while other leaders asserted that the military was prepared to thwart opposition leadership in the nation.

According to the senior Zanu PF leaders’ statements, the military killed at least six people during protests against electoral fraud, which drew worldwide criticism.

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Following this, the army and state security personnel were sent out to find opposition activists, which led to instances of rape, kidnapping, and torture.

Mnangagwa established the Motlanthe Commision of Enquiry to look into the 2018 massacres in order to placate the international world.

The Army shooting victims should be compensated, and the murderers should be put on trial, according to the Commision of Inquiry’s findings.

However, the Zimbabwean government has yet to put these suggestions into action, which once more may be an obvious indication that the creation of the Commision of Enquiry was nothing more than political posturing.

The likelihood of yet another deadly election is growing as the nation prepares for the 2023 polls.

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There are still instances of the law being used as a weapon against campaigners for the opposition.

Job Sikhala, a lawmaker from the opposition, is still incarcerated on remand after being detained in June of last year on suspicion of instigating civil unrest.

Amos Chibaya, the party’s organiser, and 25 CCC members from Budiriro were recently detained for conducting a secret meeting.

Kudzai Kadzere, a human rights attorney who had been brought in to defend the opposition activists, was beaten by riot police.

Mashonaland East is one of Zimbabwe’s political hotspots, and during the brutal 2008 elections, there were several reports of opposition activists being murdered and tortured.

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Prior to the 2023 elections, the region was surveyed by online TV station ZEEMTV, which also paid a visit to the elderly CCC activists who had been abused by accused Zanu PF youngsters in early January.

Interviews with villages revealed that tensions were high in the run-up to the 2023 elections and that threats of violence against opposition activists were only becoming worse.

The fact that the Zanu PF youngsters who attacked the senior Murewa CCC supporters are still getting away with it while threatening to use violence again and claiming to be protected from above has only made the situation worse.

And the Murewa people are certain of this since they saw the 2008 murderers getting away with it.

More | ZiMetro News

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