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Unholy alliance between Zanu PF, Police worrisome: Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition

Nelson Chamisa's motorcade was attacked while police allegedly folded their hands

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) has noted with concern and unreservedly condemned the political violence which took place in Masvingo Province on October 11, 2021.

About 200 Zanu PF placard-waving supporters from Masvingo violently confronted opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa on his way to a meeting. His aides were injured and treated at a local hospital.

 Later on, Chamisa and his team were teargassed by riot police while they were holding a private meeting in Masvingo town.

CiZC said these sad events symbolize high levels of intolerance on the part of the ruling party, Zanu PF which has a history of using violence to crush dissenting voices.

In May 2021, the ruling party ignored CiZC calls to reprimand its supporters who had vowed to unleash violence against Chamisa (during the unveiling of the Mbuya Nehanda statue in Harare).

The coalition notes with concern the fact that Zanu PF continues to use violence and coercion as means to cling to power and says events currently unfolding expose the determination by Zanu PF to decimate the opposition through unorthodox means while creating an uneven playing ground ahead of 2023 elections.

Related to this, the Coalition is deeply concerned over the partisan nature of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), which, according to witnesses and video evidence, stood by and watched as Zanu PF supporters blocked Chamisa’s motorcade.

“The teargassing and disruption of a private meeting by the police speaks volumes on the partisan conduct of the police force. The third issue is the abuse of state media. Attempts to downplay gross injustice and state terror on civilians and other parties through the state media are a cause for concern. We insist that the media, as the Fourth Estate, ought to be non-partisan, fair, and balanced.

“Yesterdays’ events also go against President Mnangagwa’s claim of ‘a new dispensation’. If anything, the current administration has a tainted human rights record which has been characterized by closure of the democratic space, arbitrary arrests through the weaponization of the law, abductions, torture and murder, and introduction of draconian laws that seek to entrench authoritarian rule among many other atrocities since 1980,” CiZC said in a statement.

It added that following the November 2017 military coup that led to the ascendancy of President Mnangagwa to power, the country was plunged into a constitutional crisis and what followed was the militarization of key state institutions.

“We do hereby raise the flag, once again to the SADC and the AU, that present day Zimbabwe is at serious risk of conflict. This brutal closure of political space raises fears of violence and clampdown on the civic and opposition actors of the 2023 polls. The most worrying indicator is that President Mnangagwa internationally plays the “growth, and reform” narrative whilst domestically pursuing a one-party state agenda. Various recommendations on upholding peace and democracy from the SADC, including former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe have been ignored.

“Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition reiterates its call for genuine dialogue facilitated by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as a means to unlock the country’s multi-faceted crisis.”

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende