After Zimbabwe’s controversial new Constitution was given the go-ahead in the March 16 referendum, the ruling party has intensified its intimidation campaigns across the country in the lead-up to the elections.
Footage obtained by the Mail & Guardian reveals how Zanu-PF propaganda is being used in public: often through a very visible military presence in urban and rural residential areas, and in party meetings where citizens are admonished for considering voting for any party other than Zanu-PF in the upcoming poll.
Human rights groups including the Zimbabwean Peace Project have noted that fears of violence and intimidation in the country are escalating. Last month, prominent human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa was arrested for allegedly obstructing justice, and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s aides were detained after a raid on Tsvangirai’s communications office in Harare. “What we are seeing are signs of fear,” Tsvangirai said in response. “The targeting of my office is reprehensible and is meant to harass and intimidate the nation ahead of the election, now that we are done with the referendum.”