BULAWAYO – Zimbabwe’s civil society groups say Zanu PF has resorted to “smart violence” in rural areas as the country heads for a referendum and watershed elections later this year.
The groups say it will be difficult for regional grouping Sadc, which facilitated Zimbabwe’s power-sharing accord, to detect this new form of violence.
Addressing journalists in Bulawayo on Monday, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition spokesperson Thabani Nyoni said Zanu PF has come up with a different form of organised violence.
And it is different from 2008 elections where supporters of the opposition were being physically attacked, he said.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition is an umbrella body for over a dozen rights groups, churches and student movements.
“They now have a new and organised form of violence which includes going to communities demanding identification cards and promising people food but those identification cards are never returned so that people not aligned to Zanu PF won’t be able to vote. Some are bringing truckloads of food to the communities and bar those not aligned to their party from getting the food.
“You also hear some telling the communities that you will die from hunger if you are not a member of our party. Some will tell you that you won’t benefit from the indigenisation programme because you are not aligned to our party,” said Nyoni.
He said arrests of political and human rights activists as well as the disruption and banning of meetings organised by such activists using harsh security laws continued unabated. – Pindai Dube