Former vice-president Joice Mujuru’s supporters are reportedly canvassing for support for the yet-to-be launched People First party under the cover of darkness in fear of being attacked by their erstwhile compatriots in Zanu PF, a human rights report has stated.
The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) in its report for December 2015 stated that due to increased political violence and intimidation by the ruling party against opposition, supporters of PF — a political outfit fronted by Mujuru and a host of ex-Zanu PF members — were canvassing for backing at night as they feared being attacked.
“During the period under review [December], there were door-to-door campaigns by the People First party. It is reported youths who were mobilising people to join their party were holding meetings at night for fear of victimisation by Zanu PF youths,” read the report.
Zanu PF, which is currently embroiled in factional fights over the succession of President Robert Mugabe, kicked out Mujuru and her supporters on allegations of plotting to topple and or kill the aged leader.
The expelled people are in the process of launching a political party called People First and all those linked to it have been intimidated, according to the report.
“In December 2015 alone, ZPP recorded a total of 62 instances of food violations where individuals linked to opposition politics and to a minor extent those Zanu PF members who were not seen at party meetings, were denied food aid,” reads part of the report.
“Members of the People First party were reportedly moving around in the Glen View area setting up structures in people’s homes at night. It is believed that they are meeting at night for fear of victimisation from Zanu PF youths.”
The report indicates that Mashonaland provinces lead the violations chart with 15 out of the 62 cases and Mashonaland Central contributes 24% of the cases (almost a quarter).
Mashonaland West’s 14 cases made up 23%; and Mashonaland East had 16% with 10 cases.
The report also stated that fissures within the MDC-T were worsening over indications that the party would join hands with Mujuru’s camp.
“The MDC-T camp has been rocked by divisions over the news of an impending coalition with People First,” reads the report.
“Factionalism within Zanu PF has also intensified, with growing cases of intimidation of suspected People First members being reported.”
On December 16 2015, two Zanu PF activists identified as Knight Gareta (50) and Cecilia Phiri (40) allegedly assaulted a 29-year-old MDC-T activist, accusing her of being an election agent in 2013. The two perpetrators said that they wanted to “fix her” for belonging to the opposition.
The victim was carrying a nine-month-old baby who fell as a result of the assault and became unconscious. The victim’s neighbours managed to resuscitate the baby and she was taken to hospital,” the report said.
Zanu PF has, however, denied the allegations, accusing ZPP of doctoring the report to please its paymasters.
Ruling party spokesperson Simon Khaya-Moyo dismissed the ZPP report as false.
“I have no evidence of what you are saying… how can I comment on what an NGO is alleging? We all know what they seek to do, tarnish our country’s image,” said Moyo.