The month of October saw an increase in the number of reports of political violence as compared to the previous month. Forty three cases of assault were recorded in October of which most were perpetrated by the army and police. Fifteen people were indiscriminately assaulted by the police and army at Budiriro 4 Shopping Centre. It is reported that the assailants were looking for a certain MDC activist who resides in that area. When they failed to find him, they went about assaulting the patrons at the Centre. Targeted assaults took place thereafter in the same area.
Violence broke out in Chitungiza when MDC and ZANU PF supporters clashed resulting in riot police assaulting ten MDC activists. The residents were demonstrating over poor services being provided by the Municipality on 13 October. It is alleged that two camps emerged during the demonstration, one was mainly of ZANU PF supporters who demanded the resignation of the Mayor and the other one mainly of MDC supporters who sided with the Mayor. Violence ensued thereafter and riot police reportedly assaulted mainly MDC supporters. The Forum would like to urge the police to exercise restraint when dealing with demonstrations and to desist from partisan actions.
Intra-party political violence in the MDC reportedly took place between two factions, one of which was pro senatorial elections and one which was opposed to participating in these elections.Three MDC senate candidates were reportedly assaulted by some rowdy youths who accused them of defying party President Mr Morgan Tsvangirai’s call not to contest the polls.
The Human Rights Forum deplores such indiscriminate acts of assault on the citizens of Zimbabwe by security forces who are supposed to be protecting them.