Under Siege Mugabe Turning More Violent – Report

By Dylan Murambgi

Harare, October 24, 2016 – A recent report by a top rights group has shown that President Robert Mugabe’s government and party have turned more violent in attempts to save the Harare regime which continues to face growing citizen resistance for poor leadership, corruption and police brutality, among a slew of alleged offences.

The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) indicated in its September report on politically motivated rights violations that more Zimbabweans continued to fall victim to state sponsored violence in which the state and Zanu PF supporters have been on top of the abuses.

“There has been growing concern about the targeting of those mobilising citizens for protests through abductions and torture is a trend that Zimbabweans fear and loathe,” said ZPP, which documents and publishes monthly reports on politically motivated rights violations throughout the country.

“This largely contributed to the number of victims recorded in September; a total of 1320 victims and 967 perpetrators. In July and August the victims were 647 and 1416 respectively. The September protests leave September as the month with the second highest number of victims over the last three months.”

September witnessed the state move to suppress what could easily have spiralled into a fully fledged rebellion against Mugabe and his government as protests by citizens were beginning to gather steam. 

The government, through the police, used the country’s tough security laws to ban peaceful protests and brute force to stop unannounced protests by some defiant citizens.

This saw the police and other coercive organs of the state topping the list of all those who were behind rights violations in September.

“State sponsored violence is pervasive in Zimbabwe and the statistics recorded in September point to a shocking reality of how violence is perpetrated by state institutions,” said ZPP.

“In September, the Zimbabwe Republic Police accounted for 46.7% of violence perpetrators followed by 7.3% from the Zimbabwe National Army and 1.8% from the Central Intelligence Organisation.

“Apart from state institutions, Zanu PF had the highest number of perpetrators of violence at 39.7%. This indicates a growing tendency by the ruling party to use violence in settling political scores, in August 2016 Zanu PF accounted for 42% of the perpetrators.”

In its reports, ZPP usually state the political affiliations of victims with the opposition MDC-T members dominating past incidences.

However, with the advent of citizen based resistance experienced since mid-year, the number of those who do not belong to any political party shot up significantly.

In September last year, 41,4% of the political violations victims were those without a verifiable political affiliation but the number increased to  81,9% as citizens began embarking on street protests.