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from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare
HARARE – THE opposition’s win in Zambia’s recent election has been identified as the reason behind the charged political atmosphere in neighbouring Zimbabwe.

A human rights group reports the developments in Zambia also had a hand in the human rights violations that have persisted, mostly blamed on the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF).

President Emmerson Mnangagwa was recently quoted as ruling out a win by the opposition, contrary to Zambia where longtime opposition leader, Haikande Hichilema, was elected as president.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance said it would not concede if Mnangagwa won.

“The social media buzz over the opposition victory in neighbouring Zambia translated into more campaigns and increased political activity by the ruling ZANU- PF and the MDC Alliance parties in Zimbabwe,’ the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP)stated.

The organisation said despite the COVID -19 lockdown in place, ZANU-PF continued with its campaigns and restructuring “like it was business as usual.”

As a result of being politically active, ZANU-PF reportedly contributed to over 21 percent of perpetrators of human rights violations in August.

“This was mostly due to the fact that party officials and activists coerced citizens to be part of the party’s activities, in the process infringing their freedom to associate,” ZPP stated.

The main opposition party, the MDC Alliance and its breakaway, the MDC -T, both contributed to just under 2 percent of the perpetrators.

Charged with the responsibility to enforce COVID -19 lockdown measures, the police contributed to over 50 percent of the human rights violations, ZPP stated.

Zimbabwe’s next elections are scheduled for 2023.

ZANU-PF has ruled from independence in 1980.

– CAJ News