ZPP Monthly Monitor (January 2013)
The long drawn out constitution making process gained considerable momentum in January 2013 with the three principals in the inclusive government resolving the contentious issues and agreeing to a draft constitution. News that the principals had finally agreed to a draft breathed fresh air into Zimbabwe’s stale political atmosphere.
The agreement signalled the unofficial start of the 2013 political campaign season with intra-party conflicts being recorded across the country as rival candidates from parties across the political spectrum positioned themselves to represent their parties in the coming elections.
Zanu PF’s membership registration drive was rolled out across the country’s 10 provinces with some reluctant people being forced to fill in comprehensive data forms that required detailed personal information. The membership registration exercise turned into a mass intimidation exercise similar to the anti-sanctions campaign of 2011 with Zanu PF activists threatening violence on all those who failed to fill in the registration forms.
The beginning of the year also saw a continuation of harassment and intimidation targeted at human rights defenders and civil society organisations that work on human rights and governance issues. The police arrested Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) Director Okay Machisa when he and his secretary handed themselves in to the police on January 14, 2013 for allegedly conducting illegal voter registration and fraud. The arrest followed a raid and subsequent arrest of Leo Chamahwinya in December 2012.
War veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda continued to terrorise villagers in Manicaland Province since November 2012. He reportedly ordered traditional leaders, war veterans and communities to his meetings where he openly threatened opposition supporters with death. His new tactic of mass intimidation is reportedly to give two exercise books to village heads with instructions to use one as a register of Zanu PF supporters while the other will be used to take down the names of opposition supporters. He also ordered everyone of voting age to go and register to vote and then bring the registration slip to the village head.
In January, the ZPP recorded Sibanda’s meetings at Pfidza in Chipinge East on January 15, he was at Garahwa in Chipinge South on the 18th, Marange business centre on the 22nd and at 22 miles in Mutare South constituency on the 23rd of January and the message remained the same.