12 September 2017

Zimbabwe: At Least 745 Attacked As Violence Flares Ahead of Zim's 2018 Polls - Group

Photo: 263Chat
Zimbabwe Republic Police officers (file photo).

Politically motivated violence has reportedly flared up in Zimbabwe in recent months, as the southern African nation gears up for presidential polls in 2018, a report says.

According to Bloomberg, a rights group, The Zimbabwe Peace Projects, claimed that at least 745 people were attacked in August alone, up from 435 in July.

The group alleged that about 94% of the attacks were carried out by the ruling Zanu-PF party and the country's security forces.

"The nature of the human-rights violations, mainly politically motivated violence, makes disturbing reading," the head of the group, Jestina Mukoko was quoted saying.

She added that the attacks pointed "to a festering culture of political intolerance that potentially spells trouble for the 2018 elections".

This came a few days after a study by Research Advocacy Unit (RAU) said that Zimbabwe was the worst violent post-independence country in Africa, according to New Zimbabwe.com.

The study said that this was not at all shocking as the southern African country's post-independence elections had been marred by violence since 1980, with the 1985 polls being arguably the worst.

The report titled 'Zimbabwe since the elections in July 2013: The view from 2017' noted a pattern of violence and intimidation under President Robert Mugabe's rule.

"Of the elections held since 2000, some have been very violent, 2000, 2002, and 2008 whilst the others 2005 and 2013 have been marked by more intimidation rather than having high levels of overt violence," the RAU study was cited as saying.

The study indicated that the upcoming 2018 polls could be the most violent in the country's recent history due to Zanu-PF factional fights.



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