By Trust Rukwava

Zimbabwe’s political landscape has been deemed intolerant to divergent political views as cases of violence and alleged abductions continue to be recorded despite authorities pledging to uphold peace and guarantee human rights.

The political battle ground has been shaped by violence, alleged vote buying and intimidation of the electorate especially in rural areas.

Ruling party, ZANU PF has been widely accused of using violence and intimidation against opposition political party leaders, activists and supporters.

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) which was a strong rival of the ruling party and was led by the late Morgan Tsvangirayi, suffered violent attacks in 2000, 2002 and 2008 elections under the rule oflate Totalitarian, Robert Mugabe who could not stomach defeats by erstwhile rival Tsvangirai.

In rural parts of Masvingo like Bikita and Zaka, Tsvangirai’s supporters were reportedly tortured, abducted and brutally killed with many others losing livestock to rowdy ruling party youths whowere using their political muscle to intimidate dissent voices.

Journalists were not spared and have also been attacked on numerous occasions.

To date mystery surrounds the disappearance of Itai Dzamara who was abducted seven years ago during Mugabe’s supremacy.

However, many thought that tables had turned when President Emmerson Mnangagwa came to power in November 2017 through a sanitized coup which brought the so called ‘New Dispensation’.

The new regime quickly touted itself the Second Republic giving many people the impression that the culture of violence had gone with Mugabe.

However, there seems to be change without change as in most casesthere has been spirited persecution of civic society leaders and political activists across the nation.

The latest victim of alleged abduction and torture is Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) supporters, John Mupanduki of Bikita in January and recently Godfrey Karembera popularly known as MadzibabaVeshanduko.

A Gutu activist, Nyasha Zhambe of Gutu allegedly succumbed to injuries sustained from an attack by suspected ZANU PF youths who chastised himfor attending a meeting which was addressed by CCC leader Nelson Chamisa, then MDC-Alliance President.

Violence also marred CCC Kwekwe rally where suspected ZANU PF thugs brutally murdered another CCC supporter, Mbongeni Ncube, and left scores of supporters injured.

Analysts argue that violence and intimidation has been an ‘essential tool’ for the regime to clinch on to power and aid them to electoral success despite it being difficult to pin point the ruling party for the massive human rights violations.

Political analyst, Dr Davidson Mugodzwa said lack of direct evidence has been a great challenge to pinpoint the regime but lamented selective application of the law by police officers.

“The allegations are problematic in the absence of direct evidence pointing to the ruling party. ZRP is, however, implementing some kind of selective justice system.

“Only members of the opposition arearrested for political offences while Zanu PF thugs continue to walk Scott-free,” said Mugodzwa.

A run up to the just ended by-elections also proved the capture of police force as they banned a series of CCC rallies although theywould proceed after High Court dismissed the bans.

CCC had to approach the high court after its Marondera, Masvingo and Epworth rallies were banned in a clear show of frustration and lack ofpolitical tolerance.

There have also been wide spread allegations that opposition party supporters in rural communities shy away from opposition partiesrallies and meetings due to fear of victimization fronted bytraditional leaders.ZANU PF stands accused of using both warfare and law fare which hasforced other opposition party leaders and activists into exile.Zanu PF Director of Information, Tafadzwa Mugwadi had not yetresponded to questions sent to him by the time of going to print.Zanu PF Masvingo Provincial Chairperson, Robson Mavhenyengwa recentlydissociated his party from violence.“We do not condone violence our party respects the rule of law and weare laws abiding citizens, we do not know where those accusation comesfrom,” he said.However, the ruling party is on record denying any links to acts ofviolence and intimidation describing the allegations as a trick by theopposition to solicit for funding from the West.Godfrey Kurauone who was councilor for Masvingo Urban Ward 4 andnational youth organizer for MDC-Alliance before he was recalled byDouglas Mwonzora told Centre News that violence is Zanu PF’S DNA andthis has forced people to flee Zimbabwe.“The culture of violence has always been ZANU PF’s DNA. All they knowis violence, intimidating, abducting, torturing and killing opponents.Look at the 2002 election, operation Murambatsvina, June 2008elections, the August 1 2018 killings and many other incidents.“This is the reason why people run away from their country, it’s notbecause they want to be abroad, not really, but because they thinkit’s the only safe place to be after running away from your owngovernment, your own leadership, that is the only way to get freedom,”said Kurauone.Kurauone is in America after he fled Zimbabwe following his arrest andspending over 40 days at Masvingo Remand Prison over trumped upcharges of obstructing the free movement of traffic and participatingin an illegal demonstration.Other opposition youth leaders including Makomborero Haruzivishe havealso been arrested and spent several months in prison.It, however, still remains an unanswered question whether the ‘NewDispensation’ is ready to walk the talk and shun intimidation, violence and use of repressive state apparatus to remain in power?