Zimbabwe Peace Project
September is the last month before Zanu PF holds its crucial annual conference.
Each time the party holds the conference, the preparations take centre stage and the country somewhat goes on pause.
This is because a large number of those in government are members of the ruling party and the conference is a chance to consolidate their positions in the party as they prepare for the elective congress, which is slated for 2022, just a year before national elections.
Zanu-PF is going to have its elective congress in December next year where the party is expected to elect a new national executive. The provinces are already preparing for their elections ahead of the congress, with all the leagues including the main, youth and women assemblies’ elections expected to be held by this October, before the party goes to its conference.
It is so much like a drove fighting for a chance on the feeding trough! And as clear as it is that the ruling party supersedes the operations of government, it is also apparent that for one to enjoy the extravagance that comes with being in government, they have to have a strategic place in the party structures.
With its pseudo democracy approach, Zanu PF continues to set up grassroots structures that then get the chance to attend and determine the outcome of the conference.
But in essence, it is mostly the senior officials in the district, provincial and national structures who run the show and determine who is in these grassroots structures.
As a result, there is often heightened violence during the run up to the conference as is already being witnessed. So severe is the violence that senior party officials often end up intervening.
On 21 September, the party’s national acting spokesperson Mike Bimha said provincial elections were being postponed to focus the party on preparations for the party’s annual conference.
This was after the provincial election campaigns had, according to NewsDay, ‘been marred by factionalism, smear campaigns and were threatening to turn bloody while also exposing deep-rooted factionalism in the party’.
Throughout the month of September, ZPP documented cases of intra-party confrontations within Zanu PF.
Worryingly, ZPP noted that the Zanu PF party officials continued to abuse state resources for their party campaigns. For example, in Buhera North, the incumbent Member of Parliament, William Mutomba had to call in police at Dorowa to disrupt an agricultural show that his party rival, Philip Guyo, had sponsored.
Far from Buhera North, in Wedza, two Zanu PF officials, one Kahondo and Lovemore Makombe, who are all aspiring to take up the District Coordinator Chairperson position, were in a brawl. Makombe allegedly organized Zanu PF youths to disrupt a meeting convened by Kahondo.
In Mashonaland Central, former minister Lazarus Dokora had to flee with his life as he attempted to campaign to unseat the current provincial chairperson, Kazembe Kazembe, who is the current Home Affairs minister.
In Bubi, Nkenyane area, Zanu PF activists led by one Gift Moyo, have gone around telling small scale miners that they should go and register as voters at a local Zanu PF office or they lose their licences.
The clashes in the ruling party contributed to the 10 intra party violence cases the ZPP recorded in September.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has topped the list of human rights violations in the past two years, but this September, they handed over the mantle to Zanu PF, which contributed to over 37 percent of violations compared to the ZRP’s 31 percent.
Still, the ZRP’s contribution to human rights violations remains a cause for concern considering that as the law enforcement agents, they are supposed to be the torch bearers of a human rights centred approach to policing and to public safety.
With the ruling party and the police leading as perpetrators of rights violations, the level of public safety and confidence are undermined.
Officers of the ZRP Chivhu in Chikomba District stand accused of torturing a woman to death during interrogation. The woman was suspected of withholding money allegedly stolen by her younger sister.
This conduct by the police is of great concern and the ZPP continues to demand that police conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with their constitutional mandate and should be able to handle arrested persons without using unconstitutional means such as torture.
In another incident, officers of the ZRP threw teargas into a bus near Harare, leaving a child and others hospitalised. This is not the first time this has happened.
Last year police fired teargas into a bus in Harare and the ZRP said they had arrested the offending officers and promised to update the public about it.
Nothing has been heard about the case at the time of finalizing this report. Apart from the political rights violations, the ZPP this month notes with concern the increase in prices of good and services and the further erosion of the local currency, a situation that has left many vulnerable and unable to afford basic commodities as the monthly basic needs of a family of six shot to ZWL40,000.
ZPP conducted a survey in the communities and discovered that the quality of life is going down as many in the informal sector, who endured two months in lockdown, attempted to resume operations at a time when the prices of goods and services were going up