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Election Watch Issue No. 8
October 09, 2007
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generated by the South African mediated talks that Zimbabwean voters
would be registered to create a new and transparent voters' roll
before the elections in March next year were dealt a blow last week
by Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa.
there would be no re-registration of voters to create ward-specific
voters' rolls. In response, stakeholders said the proposed system
would prejudice many voters as the delimitation exercise was yet
a Zimbabwean commentator, even if the electoral laws are changed,
it is impossible to hold democratic elections unless the environment
allows all parties to campaign freely in a climate of political
escalating reports of ruling party militants unleashing terror in
rural areas and creating no-go zones, the Movement For Democratic
Change (MDC) elections secretary Ian Makone says there is no prospect
of elections being free and fair in these areas.
where the MDC has held successful rallies, scores of terrified people
have fled the district due to fresh political violence. This has
led to the arrest and assault of MDC activists, one of whom is reportedly
battling for his life.
police disrupted a public meeting organised by the Zimbabwe Human
Rights Association (ZimRights) to discuss the forthcoming election.
Security police stormed the venue where former Zanu PF stalwart
Edgar Tekere had launched a blistering attack on Mugabe's human
rights record and harassment of the opposition.
of student leaders has intensified and a Youth Forum public meeting
in Masvingo was disrupted by government militia, leading to bloody
clashes. The police reacted by arresting youths from the civic organisations.
A Zanu PF ward
chairperson in the Headlands area deliberately started a fire which
destroyed eight cottages on a plot belonging to the MDC chairlady
for the Headlands ward. The cottages accommodated victims of Operation
Murambatsvina who were once again rendered homeless.
In their August
report, the human rights monitoring group, Zimbabwe Peace Project,
confirmed that cases of politically-inspired violence had increased,
while space for the church and civil society continued to shrink.
maintains its monopoly of the airwaves through a previous law giving
ownership of all radio and television frequencies to the state broadcaster.
Opposition parties are denied access.
Even if liberalised
media laws are in place by end October, commentators stress it will
take time to set up a free daily press and develop a non-partisan
the state media recently imposed a blackout on the activities of
Ray Kaukonde, governor of Mashonaland East province. Kaukonde is
part of a powerful Zanu PF faction that is pushing for Mugabe's
ousting from power.
Cooperative Centre has published a damning report on the manipulation
of food aid by the Mugabe government: "Be loyal - or starve".
The organisation is demanding the creation of an independent food
observer force to ensure that food reaches those in most need.
top-secret security document leaked to the media reveals a carefully
manipulated plan designed to destroy the reputation of outspoken
cleric Archbishop Pius Ncube.
even members of theatre groups are not immune from government paranoia.
Two actors and a journalist who challenged their arrest for staging
a play about the country's political crisis were arrested by Harare
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