Political violence increasing in run up to council elections

Politically motivated violence in August 2003 largely took the form of inter-party violence surrounding the Urban Council Elections held on 30/31 August 2003. Pre – election reports of political violence were received from Bulawayo, Chegutu, Norton and Gwanda among others.

In Gwanda (Matebeleland South), there were reported disputes between the opposition MDC and the ruling ZANU PF as both parties clashed over rally venues. Dumisani Dube sustained injuries after ZANU PF youths assaulted him. In Mhondoro constituency (Mashonaland West), LN reported that a group of Zanu (PF) youths stoned MDC supporters at Katanga polling station in Norton. He claims that the perpetrators barred MDC supporters from casting their votes and that he was also assaulted with a metal rod on the forehead and with a brick on his back.

In the same constituency, SM asserts that ZANU PF youths abducted him from the Ward 7 polling station, took him to their base and then assaulted him. He claims that he was driven to a bushy area, ordered to lie on his stomach, had his hands and feet tied with a rope, blindfolded and then assaulted with wooden logs. LK, a polling agent at another polling station in Norton, alleges that he was stoned and assaulted with logs and whips by ZANU PF supporters because he was an agent for the opposition MDC.

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