The political environment throughout the country has remained relatively quiet with a slight increase in incidents of politically motivated human violations recorded during the month. There were 224 incidents witnessed in March up from the 209 cases recorded in February 2014.
In a positive development recorded during the month of March, a suspected Zanu PF activist, who allegedly killed an MDC member in 2002 accusing him of being a sell-out because his daughters were election agents for Morgan Tsvangirai in the presidential election, was arrested in Beitbridge after 12 years on the run. The suspect, Samson Masuku of Beitbridge was among six other suspects, Boy Ndlovu, Cephas Muleya, Ben Tshidino Ndou, Musa Ndou, Siphiwe Sibanda and Thembelani Ngulube, who allegedly killed Nelson Nare Ngale Mudau at his home accusing him of being a sellout.
Masuku appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Sibongile Msipa on Wednesday, 12 March 2014 and was referred to the Bulawayo High Court to stand trial on a charge of murder.
The MDC-T internal fighting continued throughout the month despite assurances by the party President Morgan Tsvangirai that the leadership had resolved its differences. Suspended party deputy treasurer Elton Mangoma together with his backers vowed to continue pushing for leadership renewal within the MDC-T. Despite the leadership fights from the party provincial structures, it has been reported that most MDC-T supporters at the grassroots have endorsed Morgan Tsvangirai to continue leading the party. The MDC-T is now alleged to be re- aligning their structures at grass-roots level removing all those supporting Elton Mangoma from the structures, who have been labelled rebels.
This was the case for the Manicaland provincial executive led by Julius Magarangoma that was suspended during the month under review.
The infighting was not only limited to the MDC-T as Zanu PF had its own share of violations linked to the factionalism within the ruling party. The factionalism in Zanu PF has been reported to be in the form of fights between supporters of Vice President Joice Mujuru and the party’s secretary of legal affairs Emmerson Mnangagwa.
A worrying trend observed during the month was the continued farm invasions on white owned commercial farms which started more than 13 years ago. The invasions which are usually violent were reported in the Midlands, Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland West provinces. President Robert Mugabe’s family reportedly evicted over 900 families from Manzou Farm in Mazowe to pave way for the First Family to allegedly establish a wildlife sanctuary. Some of the victims of the evictions are still camped at Henderson Research Station as they scrounge for alternative accommodation. As a result of the demolitions in Manzou Farm, a yet to be opened service station situated close to Mazowe Dam was demolished by the police. The owner lost property worth thousands of dollars despite the fact that the development was approved by the Mazowe District Council.
In another development, a traditional leader from Mt Darwin allegedly led a wholesale programme to register and issue national identification certificates (IDs) to teenagers in preparation for the 2018 elections. Chief Sirako Dotito of Mt Darwin East allegedly ordered village heads under his jurisdiction to ensure that all children aged between 14 and 18 years are assisted to get IDs at theDistrict Registrar’s offices so that they are able to vote in 2018. The message is reportedly being shared among Zanu PF supporters only making it difficult for other political parties.