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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
On Solid Ground - Issue 02
July 04, 2013
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Violence in Zimbabwe. Could history be repeating itself?
Over the past
30 years of Zimbabwe’s independence, elections in Zimbabwe
have been plagued by political violence. The propensity for violence
and impunity seems to be increasing with each election and this
is reflected by the vicious cycle of incidents of violence that
has plagued many rural communities. The many harrowing reports of
violence prompted Heal Zimbabwe Trust (HZT) to carry out a survey
in the political violence hotspots of Zaka, Buhera, Muzarabani,
Gokwe and Murehwa. Most worryingly, this politically motivated violence
has not known nor discriminated by age or gender. Instead, the violence
has been targeted at all those suspected to be or are sympathetic
to then opposition parties especially Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC-T) human rights defenders, civil society activists and any
Zimbabwean who has dared show any signs of dissent against Zimbabwe
African National Union - Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) and its largely
spy infiltrated state apparatus.
of the survey as well as HZT’s weekly alert system, reveal
that the main instigators of political violence can be classified
into two, that is direct and indirect instigators. The direct instigators
are those directly involved in perpetrating violence and these include
disenchanted youth, some whom are from militia camps such as the
infamous Border Gezi training camp. The youth mostly operated in
areas such as Zaka, Muzarabani, Murehwa and Gokwe. Some politicians,
members of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), Criminal
Investigations Department (CID), war veterans, soldiers and policemen
can also be classified as direct instigators since reports from
Buhera and Mutoko reveal that they were responsible for instigating
violence. Conversely, indirect instigators of violence are those
who are mainly involved in organising and funding the violence.
These include the traditional leaders, some state security agents
and political leaders who operate at various structural levels.
It is important to note that some groups such as the police and
army fall into both categories because they were at times involved
in organising and instigating violence.
The HZT survey
revealed that 20 000 people were harassed and almost 100 000 internally
displaced during the 2008
political violence. A total of 16 400 cases were recorded between
January and June 2008 clearly showing how volatile the pre-election
period was. The HZT survey revealed that the major incidents of
violence associated with Zimbabwean elections are as follows:
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