In their post-election report, the Catholic organisation whose aim is to highlight the plight of the Zimbabwean people and assist in cases of human rights abuse, Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe (CCJPZ), submitted that the 2018 harmonised elections were marred by massive intimidation, isolation and violence in rural communities.
In a late statement issued on the 30th of October, the Bishop Rudolf Nyandoro-chaired Catholic Commission which deployed 835 election day observers across the country, said the July election narrative was centred on fear which was motivated by promises of a return of 2008 political violence, denying political opponents humanitarian aid and everything else they need for a livelihood.
The commision added that some of the citizens who occupy the country’s rural areas succumbed to threats of evictions from their land.
The report noted that this has been the common and normalised political life in most Zimbabwean rural communities for the last decade during the election era.
“This narrative is intriguing in that the intimidation, isolation and violence strategy has been similar and implemented almost at the same time across Zimbabwe.
This points to a centre or cartel where the concoction of political and electoral intimidation, isolation and violence is brewed and delivered throughout the electoral cycle by complementary structures, institutions and individuals that are rewarded through a well-resourced patronage system,”
With this report, the CCJPZ has joined other independent commisions, like the European Union and the US, who criticised the Zimbabwe elections for being held on an “un-level playing field” as the opposition parties protested against alleged widespread fraud by the election authority and ruling party.
A local paper The Patriot, however, noted with a great dig of historical analysis how the commission has been blowing hot and cold on the 2018 elections. In an editorial piece entitled “Sins of the Catholic Church,” the tabloid reflected on the major discrepancies between their pre-election pastoral letters and election day statements.
The paper wrote:
“On June 29 2018, just before the country’s harmonised elections, the bishops issued a pre-election Pastoral Letter titled ‘Opening A New Door: The July 2018 Elections and Beyond’ commending the peace Zimbabwe had experienced before the election period.
Bishop Nyandoro is quoted saying it was impressive to see political parties campaigning freely countrywide.
“All political parties were preaching the message of peace and tolerance,”
“The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is congratulated for the maiden Bio-metric Voters’ Roll which is less controversial.”
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