ZIMBABWE’s opposition feared a new crackdown yesterday as authorities vowed to get tough on perpetrators of political violence in the approach to this month’s run-off election.
As a leading rights group warned mounting violence had extinguished chances of a free and fair ballot, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change said a vow by authorities to deny bail to anyone suspected of committing or inciting unrest would be used to further hamper their election campaign.
Announcing the plan to systematically refuse bail to anyone suspected of political violence, deputy attorney general Johannes Tomana told the state-run Herald newspaper: “Zimbabweans are entitled to security of their lives and property.
“It does not matter who commits the offence. We are doing this without fear or favour. We will be tough with them now.”
However the MDC chief spokesman ridiculed the idea that the new directive would be applied even-handedly.
“The law is not applied evenly and not even one ZANU-PF will be locked up,” Nelson Chamisa told AFP in reference to Mugabe’s ruling party.
“It’s clear that this measure is meant to target key MDC members and activists and keep them behind bars as a way of hampering the MDC campaign.”
Meanwhile an association of Zimbabwean doctors said they had treated nearly 3,000 victims of political violence since the first round of voting on March 29.
Many MDC supporters who have been injured in the violence have taken shelter at the party’s headquarters in Harare.
Speaking after meeting some of the victims, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said he was deeply shocked by their plight.
“I can assure you that the people we have met across the country in the past few days are determined to end this suffering on the 27th of June. Let us be strong and finish it,” he said Tsvangirai has himself been beaten in the past by members of the security services while trying to protest against the government.
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