Relatively Little Political Violence in January 2006 as Rift in Opposition widens

The month of January was relatively quiet in terms of political violence. This can be attributed to a number of reasons. The split in the MDC, following a decision on 12 October 2005, resulted in a pro-senate and an anti-senate faction being formed with one faction fielding candidates in November 26 Senate Elections and the other deciding not to. This contributed to the decreased incidence of political violence in the period.

This split undoubtedly gave the ruling ZANU-PF party the impression that there was no credible opposition with which to contend so giving the MDC space to continue with their very public and acrimonious disagreements. Another reason is possibly that there are no elections in sight at the moment so there is no need for campaigning. The trend is generally that political violence is greatly increased during election periods.

Despite the relative calm in the month, the right to freedom of expression was grossly violated by the state when Voice Of the People (VOP) trustees were aggressively sought after by the police. The right above is perennially violated by the state in its bid to silence dissenting views and alternative sources of information. In a related incident, a reporter Sydney Saize, was reportedly arrested for breaching the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) even though he was not practicing as a journalist.

The Forum continues to implore the Government to repeal or amend this restrictive legislation along with other repressive legislation including the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) and the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) as highlighted in the Resolution of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the situation of human rights in Zimbabwe during its 38th Ordinary Session in Banjul, The Gambia from 21 November to 5 December 2005.

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