Harare Man Charged with Assaulting Zanu PF Supporter Ahead of Elections

April 8, 2023
| Report Focus News
FILE PHOTO: Supporters wait for President Emmerson Mnangagwa to address an election rally of his ruling ZANU (PF) party in Bindura, Zimbabwe July 7, 2018. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo/File Photo

A man from Harare has been charged with assaulting another man who was wearing a Zanu PF T-shirt. The incident occurred on Sunday in Kuwadzana when Gilmord David confronted Dosman Piko about the T-shirt.

According to reports, when Piko refused to remove the T-shirt, David’s teenage son kicked and hit him with a brick. David also joined in the assault, resulting in Piko being taken to the hospital with injuries to his head and chest. David was granted $30,000 bail and will appear in court on June 8th.

This incident comes at a time when Zimbabwe is preparing to hold harmonised elections sometime between July 26 and August 26 this year. Elections in Zimbabwe have a history of violence, including intimidation, harassment, and physical violence. Members of the opposition, as well as human rights activists, have often been victims of state-sponsored violence and restrictions on freedoms.

Zimbabwe has also experienced violence both between different political parties (interparty) and within the same party (intraparty). The ruling party, ZANU PF, has been involved in numerous clashes with the MDC and lately the CCC, with each party accusing the other of instigating violence. There have been reports of intimidation, assault, and even murder of opposition supporters by members of the ruling party, as well as retaliation attacks by opposition supporters.

The Zimbabwean government has faced criticism for not doing enough to address interparty violence and holding those responsible accountable. Many Zimbabweans, including civil society organizations and human rights groups, have called for an end to political violence and for the government to take action to ensure free and fair elections.

Despite some improvements, reports of violence and intimidation during elections have persisted. The violence before the March 26th, 2022 by-elections has raised concerns about potential violence during the 2023 harmonised elections.

The incident involving David and Piko is a troubling example of political violence in Zimbabwe. It demonstrates the intolerance that exists between political opponents in the country and highlights the urgent need for action to address the problem of political violence. Civil society organizations and human rights groups have an important role to play in promoting free and fair elections and advocating for an end to political violence in Zimbabwe. The international community can also support these efforts by putting pressure on the Zimbabwean government to take action and by providing support to civil society organizations and human rights groups working to promote democracy and human rights in the country.