Supporters Injured in Mugabe’s Fractured Party

Harare — Pro-democracy groups have slammed the intervention by the military in the skirmishes from the infighting rocking Zimbabwe’s ruling party ahead of next year’s elections. The raging political disputes within President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF have become violent of late and left three people suffering broken limbs in Harare. Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, who is also the minister for national healing and reconciliation, has called on the military to intervene, much to the concern of rights groups. The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) said the order by Mphoko, the former ambassador to South Africa, was irresponsible. “The constitution is clear that the military must remain apolitical,” ZPP stated. The organisation said it was clear the internal political party disputes did not constitute an emergency or natural disaster, thus calls for the military to be used in order to curtail the rights of ordinary citizens to pursue politics was unlawful. “President Mugabe is on record ordering the military not to be involved in civilian politics and Vice President Mphoko’s call flies in the face of the pronouncements.” The organisation expressed fear military intervention would most certainly result in human rights violations for ordinary citizens. The military has in the past intervened in political disputes particularly during the Gukurahundi atrocities, when armed forces killed at least 20 000 people south of the country. In the 2008 elections that Mugabe lost, but clung to power, the military is accused of killing hundreds of opposition supporters. “Many people lost their lives while others now live with permanent scars as a result of deployment of the military to solve civilian political disputes,” ZPP stated. Mugabe’s party is beset by factionalism by rivals eager to succeed him when he eventually leaves office. He is set to represent the party in the 2018 polls. –

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