Mugabe’s ZANU-PF Vows to Silence Critics Ahead of Zimbabwe Elections

December 15, 2011 at 11:31 am Leave a comment

Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, ZANU-PF legal affairs secretary, said
the party must target the media, Facebook users, civic groups and human
rights activists

Blessing Zulu | Washington

A crackdown on opponents of President Robert Mugabe seems likely to
intensify in the aftermath of his ZANU-PF party’s annual conference during
which hardliners pushed through a resolution to target perceived critics
ahead of expected 2012 elections.

In a report by the party’s central committee at the just-ended conference,
Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, ZANU-PF’s legal affairs secretary, said
the party must target the media, Facebook users, civic groups and human
rights activists.

Mnangangwa said those groups were spreading “hate messages” and urged
ZANU-PF to block offensive material coming from such sources.

ZANU-PF insiders said the party might ask China for technology to monitor
critics and filter the internet.

Party spokesman Rugare Gumbo, however, told VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing
Zulu that his party will take steps to counter critics but will not step up
surveillance of them.

Information and Communications Technology Minister Nelson Chamisa of the
co-governing Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai said Harare won’t be buying Chinese spy technology.

Commenting on Mnangagwa’s report, human rights lawyer Dewa Mavhinga of the
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said targeting government critics shows that
ZANU-PF is desperate.

Many Zimbabweans are wary of a repeat of the 2008 election which saw
extensive and often deadly political violence and a stalemate that
eventually led to the formation of the power-sharing government.


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