Internal power struggles within the major political parties of Zanu PF and the MDC-T intensified during the month of July leading to a significant rise in the number of politically motivated human rights violations. The number of violations rose from 188 recorded in June to 229 during the month under review.
The ruling Zanu PF party set new rules that will see officials who have not served for at least five years in its provincial structures fail to make it into the central committee at its December elective congress. The move set the tone for fierce fighting for positions ahead the party’s Women’s League and Youth League conferences.
In clear violation of the party’s own regulations, First Lady Grace Mugabe was in July at her birthday celebration was nominated to lead the women’s league. The party’s regulations stipulated that for one to be elected into the women’s league they should have been a member of the party for the past 20 years and also have previous records of serving at national level. Grace Mugabe was tipped to take over from Oppah Muchinguri who has been the women’s league secretary for the past 19 years.
As the internal power struggles raged on within the ruling party, Zanu PF MPs Masango Matambanadzo (Kwekwe Central) and Owen Ncube (Gokwe-Kana), allegedly exchanged blows in public in Kwekwe in July over allegations of instructing youths to perform acts of arson.
The month witnessed the battle to control the structures in the MDC-T between those on Tendai Biti’s Renewal Team and those supporting party president Morgan Tsvangirai. A tribunal convened by MDC-T Renewal Team moved to expel party leader Morgan Tsvangirai and national chairperson Lovemore Moyo but the Tsvangirai faction dismissed the expulsion.
Violence on resettled farms continued during the month when Zanu PF Goromonzi South MP Petronella Kagonye was implicated in a violent land wrangle with over 7000 party supporters. She was accused of attempting to grab housing stands she had earlier allocated to over 7000 Zanu PF members ahead of last year's harmonised elections.
Farm invasions continue to happen long after the government had indicated that it had completed the land reform program. A group of soldiers are currently camped at Piedmont farm in Matepatepa Bindura North, Mashonaland Central after chasing the white farmer away. The soldiers have constructed a boom gate at the farm entrance to monitor and vet any strangers.