AT least 70% of politically motivated violence cases experienced since January emanated from Zanu PF supporters’ intolerance for the public’s opinion on Grace Mugabe, a local human rights watch dog has said.
The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) siad Saturday that although it was “dangerous” in the yester-years to publicly denounce President Robert Mugabe this has not been the case since the beginning of the year.
Instead, and in most cases, people reported being assaulted by Zanu PF activists for their “unfavourable” views on the First Lady, Zanu PF in fighting and the state of the economy.
“The cases that ZPP recorded of alleged ‘insults’ were not necessarily words said against President Mugabe but included anything said which was supposedly disparaging Zanu PF, the First Lady Grace Mugabe, factionalism within the party or even the prevailing economic situation in the country,” said ZPP in a statement.
Grace Mugabe came into the political arena last year ahead of Zanu PF’s December congress when she was campaigning to be head of the party’s Women’s League.
During her campaigns, Grace lashed out at senior party officials including the former vice president Joice Mujuru whom she accused of plotting to assassinate her husband.
Her behavior resulted in most vulnerable party members bootlicking as a way of securing protection from the axe which she was and continues to wield.
ZPP cited several incidents in Chegutu, Bindura, Binga, Gweru and Bulawayo where ordinary people were assaulted by suspected Zanu PF activists for uttering statements like “Zanu PF yaora (Zanu PF is rotten)”, “government is failing to pay civil servants” and “the country is suffering because of the “greediness” of the First Family”.
“In all the documented cases it would appear that citizens are not free to discuss issues relating to the current economic environment which has a bearing on their wellbeing .What is clear however is that Zimbabweans are intolerant of other people’s opinions,” noted ZPP.
The country’s constitution (section 61) guarantees freedom of expression which includes freedom to seek, receive and communicate ideas and information.
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