Increased inter-party violence in run up to March 2008 Harmonized Elections

March saw a rise in political tensions and an increase in inter-party violence, Organized violence and intimidation of the opposition was rife in the run up to the 29th of March 2008 Harmonized Elections.

As documented in this report, also of grave concern was the partisanship and selective application of the law by the police in favour of the ZANU (PF) party. It is reported that armed police officers in Mbare watched as ZANU (PF) supporters pelted MDC members in clear disregard of their duty to serve and protect all Zimbabwean citizens. Members of the police force have also been reported to have effected arrests of MDC supporters at the instigation of ZANU (PF) youths without prior investigation, and have refused to effect arrests on ZANU (PF) members.

Although the pre-election environment recorded lower levels of incidences of politically motivated violence as compared to the election periods of 2000 and 2002, pre-election violence remains a worrying trend in Zimbabwean politics. Pre-election violence has been used in the past Zimbabwean elections as an instrument of influencing election outcomes and this, among other administrative irregularities, has marred the electoral process in Zimbabwe.

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