Civic society organisation, Heal Zimbabwe Trust, has raised the red flag ahead of polls set for Monday, saying intimidation, assault, forced participation at political gatherings and partisan distribution of aid, food and inputs, have been on the rise.

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In its monthly human rights report for July released on Wednesday, Heal Zimbabwe said intimidation topped the human rights violations, which were at 82, in the 23 districts observed countrywide.

“Intimidation recorded the highest number of cases with 81,7% (67 cases) 16 cases higher compared to the previous report which registered 87,93% (51 cases). Destruction of campaign material was second recording 6,09% (five cases). Forced participation to political gatherings and partisan distribution of aid recorded 4,87% (4 cases) each. Assault recorded the least with 2,43% (4 cases),” reads the report, also published on their website.

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Intimidation constituted the majority of violations with 67 cases, 16 cases higher than the previous report where 51 cases of intimidation were recorded. Bikita, Hurungwe and Buhera recorded the highest number of human rights violations, with 10 cases each.

The provinces in which the human rights violations were recorded include Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Manicaland, Midlands, Masvingo and Mashonaland Central and Harare Metropolitan. Masvingo recorded the highest number of human rights violations with 24,39% (20 cases) toppling Mashonaland Central which recorded 34,48% from the same (20 cases). Manicaland recorded the second highest number of human rights cases with 21,95% (18 cases), eight cases higher than the previous report which recorded 10 cases. Harare Metropolitan province recorded the least with 1,21% (1 case)

“Heal Zimbabwe is greatly appalled by the recurrence of human rights violations in local communities, especially the cases linked to intimidation. Heal Zimbabwe continuously states that intimidation directly hinders free participation of citizens in democratic processes and stalls efforts towards peace and tolerance ahead of the general elections.

“Major manifestations of intimidation include the general threats or reminders of past electoral violence (gruesome June 27, 2008 rerun violence) during which many were killed, maimed, injured and evicted. This is spiced up by perpetrators who remind community members of the re-emergence of torture bases if Zanu PF loses the election. Another form of intimidation involves the threats of violence by the military following the events of 15 November 2017. Other threats involve general threats of evictions and withdrawal of aid (food and inputs).

“The continued prevalence of human rights violations is worrisome as it impedes peaceful coexistence and free expression of citizens’ rights in democratic processes. Heal Zimbabwe continuously calls for peace and tolerance ahead of the general elections,” the report said.

Zanu PF supporters committed most of the human rights offences with 66% (70 perpetrators) of which 64 were males and six were females. Traditional leaders were second with 26% (27 perpetrators). War veterans constituted 4% (four perpetrators), two of them being females. Councillors and MDC Alliance were the least with 3% and 1% respectively.

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