Supporters of Zimbabwe’s ousted vice president Joice Mujuru are now being targeted in ways previously used by the ruling Zanu-PF party only against the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), according to a rights group.
Some members of Zanu-PF who are believed to be loyal to Mujuru have had their farms invaded or been denied food and state farm inputs since the beginning of December, claims the Zimbabwe Peace Project in its latest “Monthly Monitor” report, on Wednesday.
“A disturbing trend noted… was that the distribution of food and farming inputs has been reported to be based on political affiliation,” said the report.
“In most cases the Mujuru faction within Zanu-PF and MDC supporters are discriminated against.”
Mujuru, 59, was sacked as vice president shortly after a Zanu-PF congress in early December. She and her supporters are accused of plotting to oust long serving president Robert Mugabe, though as yet they have not been formally charged with anything.
Some commentators now call Mujuru’s faction of Zanu-PF “the new MDC”.
The Zimbabwe Peace Project, which works with churches, activists and rights lawyers, said that ruling party supporters had engaged in “witch-hunting” to try to identify Mujuru’s allies. Zanu-PF is now divided between Mujuru supporters and supporters of Mugabe and new vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa.
In at least two cases riot police have been called in to quell tensions between rival party members. Three people were injured in one such clash in Goromonzi district, near Harare, in early December.
MDC supporters have borne the brunt of ruling party violence since the opposition party was formed in 1999.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition director MacDonald Lewanika said the fighting within the ruling party is “a battle for the soul of Zanu-PF”.
“I think it’s definitely something that is going to be more long-term and I think it will actually get worse if Mugabe leaves office or if he passes away or decides to resign.”