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Monthly Monitoring Report: September 2005
Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP)
October 19, 2005

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Executive Summary
The senate elections penned for November 26 have attracted much attention and predictably, have led to clashes between traditional political rivals, the Zimbabwe African National Union (Patriotic Front) (Zanu PF) and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Human rights violations induced by the forthcoming elections have mainly been perpetrated in the form of physical assaults, harassment and intimidations. Since the enactment of the Constitutional amendment number 17, which saw the reincarnation of the once-abandoned senate of the early ‘80s, there have been little calls by the political leadership for party supporters to be peaceful and tolerant when approaching the senate polls.

Reported cases indicate a significant increase in some provinces, particularly in the southern region of Zimbabwe, of cases of violence associated with the forthcoming Upper House elections.

In Gwanda North constituency in Matabeleland South, for example on 1 September, Zanu PF supporters led by J reportedly clashed with MDC activists at Sofa business centre over the holding of senate elections leading to five people being injured and hospitalised. It is said the police arrested and briefly interrogated the perpetrators, mostly Zanu PF before releasing them.

On 15 September in the same constituency, it was reported that a group of Zanu PF supporters disrupted an MDC senate elections preparatory meeting at Kozi business centre leading to five MDC supporters being injured in the clashes that followed. The five are CZ, MD, VS, MM and DM.

In Bulawayos Pumula-Luveve constituency on 12 September, suspected Zanu PF supporters, in an act of political narrow-mindedness, reportedly threatened to assault SS at Pumula shopping centre after accusing him of fanning anti-senate protests and distributing ‘dangerous’ literature which turned out to be NCA material.

In the Midlands province, there were also reports of senate elections-related human rights violations. In Mkoba for example on 9 September, it is alleged that two Zanu PF youths assaulted GC after he had commented against the setting up of the senate. The alleged assailants, it is claimed proceeded to make death threats against the said victim.

Ruling party supporters have been named as the leading perpetrators of human rights abuses related to the holding of the November elections. It was reported on September 10 in Kwekwe that groups of Zanu PF youths went on a house-to-house campaign forcing residents to ‘celebrate’ the enactment of the Constitutional Amendment Act (number 17).

On a different note, there have been quite disconcerting reports from Manicaland that church leaders are victimising people on political grounds. In what is perhaps a bizarre case in Guta village (Nyadowa area) in Nyanga on 3 September, an Apostolic Church elder WK reportedly threatened KG and other church faithful with excommunication from the church if they refused to join the ruling party.

Despite the government’s efforts to halt violent farm invasions, Chipinge North is one extremely volatile constituency where violent farm invasions, perhaps inspired by the 17th Constitutional revision, have increased.

Documents to hand reveal that at least three farms, namely Ashanti, Brackenridge and Sweet Acres farms have been invaded by war veterans and Zanu PF youths led by one JC, a local Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operative who has declared his interests to illegally occupy Brackenridge farm.

DWD, a white commercial farmer of Canadian extract who owns Brackenridge farm and AW, a white farmer and the former’s farm manager were allegedly assaulted by Zanu PF youths in the presence of JM, the intelligence operative on September 20 before JM fired shots just above the said victims’ heads. Investigations by the ZPP have it that the alleged invaders have been warned by officials from the District Administrator’s office against invading Ashanti farm, in which former University of Zimbabwe Vice-Chancellor, Professor Graham Hill is said to be a shareholder.

The ZPP strongly urges political leaders to reign in their supporters in order that peace and tolerance be preserved and upheld. We also urge the same leaders and state arms like the police and CIO to respect standing court orders barring them from engaging in illegal activities like farm invasions, assaults, harassments and intimidations.

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