A video has emerged showing what appears to be evidence of intimidation on the part of members of President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party. With an election expected in the coming year, this video - along with reports of similar incidents - has stoked fears that the party is returning to the same intimidation tactics used in the run-up to the 2008 election
A speaker in the video tells a crowd of people, “If MDC [the opposition Movement for Democratic Change party] comes here and you, as a ZANU-PF member, participate [in their meetings], I promise I will beat you.” Another speaker asks people gathered around him to each divulge a name of an opposition supporter they know. [Our Observer, below, explains that people who don’t necessarily agree with the party’s politics are sometimes pressured to attend these meetings].
The video, which was procured by a human rights organisation that FRANCE 24 has decided to keep anonymous for security reasons, includes footage of two separate political meetings, which were reportedly held in the central district of Chirumhanzu on May 17 and in the northern district of Chinhanga on May 23. We have shown this video to several of our Observers in Zimbabwe, who were able to confirm that the dialects spoken match those used in these areas.
FRANCE 24 has asked ZANU-PF for comment on this video, but we have not yet received a reply.
During the last election, opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai withdrew a week before the second round, claiming that a campaign of violence by Mugabe’s supporters had turned the process into “a sham.” However, under pressure from the international community, the two ended up at the head of a coalition government
, with Mugabe as president and Tsvangirai as prime minister. In 2013, both men will once again compete to become president.
Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe with an iron first since 1987. Zimbabwe is currently ranked 154 out of 182 countries on Transparency International’s corruption index