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Agenda trends analysis
December 07, 2012
has been monitoring the political developments in the areas in which
it operates and realises that in this period towards the watershed
elections there have been worrying developments worth noting. We
have received reports, confirmed and unconfirmed, observed and experienced
through our networks and program staff a deteriorating democratic
space. Clandestine terror (intimidation) campaigns, vote buying,
denial of clearances for meetings and increased threats to civil
society. Below are some of the noted cases;
ZANU PF terror campaign rears ugly head-Matabeleland North
Lupane - In the furtherance of the 'carrot and stick'
approach in electioneering, ZANU PF has allegedly deployed the army
to roll out a terror campaign, the Chinese to bait the communities,
threatened civil society and distributed maize seed and food aid
ahead of the forthcoming watershed elections, Bulawayo Agenda has
The unconfirmed reports have also alleged that Governor Mathuthu
on Wednesday, the 5th of December met with the army officials, the
police, unidentified Chinese, the Lupane President's office
among other stakeholders to discuss election strategies. The meeting
allegedly identified Civil Society as a 'national security
risk' that needed to be clamped down.
The army officers, stationed in Lupane have allegedly been intimidating
villagers through a clandestine terror campaign in Shabula and other
villages in the surrounding areas where they are telling them to
vote for ZANU PF as they have been given maize seed and food aid.
Minister Obert Mpofu who is the Member of Parliament for Umguza
has also allegedly been distributing food aid and making other promises
and feigning a peaceful political campaign from as far and wide
as Victoria Falls to Umguza and Bubi. The desperation comes on the
heels of a recent literal conversion of the Lupane State University
graduation ceremony into a ZANU PF function.
Police bar Bulawayo Agenda activity
Gwanda - Police in Gwanda have barred Bulawayo Agenda from holding
a sports festival citing lack of manpower to attend the meeting
and maintain order. Bulawayo Agenda on Thursday the 29th of November,
notified the police if intentions to hold the festival in Gwanda
North's ward 1 (one) on Friday the 7th of December, 2012 to
encourage the members of the community to register as voters and
participate in the ongoing constitution
making process among other key public processes. This is part
of the organisation's ongoing civic education drive to ensure
that citizens effectively participate in key public processes.
Having since criminalised civic education and being notorious of
deliberately misinterpreting the law for political ends, the police
who first cleared the meeting before notifying Bulawayo Agenda that
their members were attending some 'conference' somewhere
thus and could not clear the activity.
Police in Gwanda
first queried Bulawayo Agenda's civic education activity citing
that the organisation should not distribute any materials that encourages
people to register to vote as this is political.
Matopo Police threaten Bulawayo Agenda members, staff
Matopo - Police in Matopo, on Monday, the 3rd of December summoned
Mr. Precious Ndlovu, Matopo Agenda Chairperson over allegations
of 'holding a political meeting without clearance'.
This was after Bulawayo Agenda, through its local chapter, Matopo
Agenda had held a sports tourney on Sunday the 2nd of December at
Silozwi Primary School in Matopo to encourage members of the community
to register as voters.
The police in turn issued a 'summon' through Mr Ndlovu,
for Busani Ncube, Bulawayo Agenda's Programs Manager to appear
at Matopo Police Station to 'withdraw his statements uttered
during the tourney' in Matopo. He allegedly committed a crime
by calling for the youths to participate in elections and other
The police then allege that the utterances were political in nature
and the distribution of information materials, mainly t-shirts and
flyers that encourage members of the community to 'register
as voters' during the meeting has also been mentioned as one
of the charges that Bulawayo Agenda has to answer to.
Matabeleland South, Matabeleland North, Bulawayo and parts of the
Midlands provinces have remained ZANU PF's weakest link thus
boosting the alternative vote. In the previous elections, these
areas recorded lowest voter turnouts with the apathy signalling
a possible loss of hope among other things.
Bulawayo Agenda and other civic actors organising communities to
register as voters and to meaningfully participate in key transitional
processes were, in the ZANU PF conference held in Bulawayo last
year (2011) identified as key threats to the party's election
strategy. The persecution of CSOs that has always been part of the
election strategy for the party seems to be still part of the strategy
thus the current developments come only as confirmation.
Key local, regional and international players thus have to retain
the foot on the pedal of piling pressure on the Zimbabwean Government
to fully implement the SADC mediated election road-map and adherence
to principles of free and fair elections.
Bulawayo Agenda continues to monitor socio-political developments
in the communities and across the country and advocate for peaceful
elections which should allow Zimbabwe to transition to a democratic
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Agenda fact sheet
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