The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), which monitors politically motivated rights violations, recorded 524 incidents of political violence in April compared to 475 cases the previous month.
ZPP blamed calls for early elections on increased cases of political violence as parties gear themselves for polls. President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF has been calling for early polls but Sadc over a week ago insisted that various reforms should be implemented first within the next 12 months.
“Politically-motivated human rights violations continued on the upward trend as the talk of holding elections this year gathered momentum. Since the beginning of the year ZPP has been witnessing a steady increase in politically-motivated human rights violations across the country,” ZPP said in its latest report.
“The elections mantra was also laced up with controversies around the constitution-making process with Zanu PF officials trashing the first draft produced by Copac.”
The civic group said Manicaland was the most politically volatile province followed by Midlands and Masvingo while the three Matabeleland regions recorded the least incidences of violence.
Zanu PF supporters were blamed for almost all the political violence. Two weeks ago, an MDC-T activist Cephas Magura, was allegedly stoned to death by several Zanu PF supporters at a business centre in Mudzi.
Analysts last week said Zanu-PF supporters had realised that intimidating and beating opposition supporters in Matabeleland South, North and Bulawayo did not necessarily result in poll victory, as shown by the poor performance of the party since the 1980’s Gukurahundi massacres.
Last week, the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic) called on party leaders to back their calls against political violence with concrete action and “immediately” hold joint rallies to help end clashes between their supporters across the country.
Both Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have called for an end to political violence but they are yet to hold the joint rallies promised by their parties as part of efforts to calm tension.