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Polarization may lead to violence during primaries
Habakkuk Trust
April 04, 2013

The high levels of polarization as the political parties are building up to the primary elections, are likely to fuel political motivated violence in Bulawayo.

Contributing during the Habakkuk Trust Action Teams public lecture held on Tuesday in Bulawayo, community advocacy action team representatives from Bulawayo, observed that currently in most locations that include Emakhandeni, Lobengula, Njube, Pumula, Nkulumane, Cowdray Park, Mzilikazi and Makokoba among others, there are high levels of interparty political polarization which ‘are recipe for violent primary and subsequently general elections’.

‘Youths are given beer and made to go and disturb meetings and are threatening that they want certain individuals to be Members of Parliament. It is happening now towards primaries and most of those people were not there in our community before,’ lamented a lady from Emakhandeni.

An Action team members from Lobengula said ‘they separate us when doing community projects and in meetings. Now there are people known as “Councillor’s people” and others are referred to as “the MP’s people”. People have not beaten each other now but by the look at things they will beat each other during the elections if it’s not stopped.’

Another member from Emganwini observed that ‘in my area people are just afraid of the political happenings leading to the elections. The fear is there now, especially when there are people who have begun going door-to-door campaigning for their parties. They don’t know if its genuine campaigns or it’s a way of identifying who sides with which party.’

Meanwhile, the action team members resolved that there is urgent need for Habakkuk Trust to convene public meetings to educate residents about the importance of peace and the negative effects of violence. The teams also called for mechanisms to educate and monitor the behaviour of candidates during the campaign process as they always fuel polarization and violence.

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