Election Violence 2008 – here is the evidence

The Zimbabwean newspaper published numerous verified reports of election violence in 2008. Here is a selection from our archives for anyone whose memory needs jogging.

Mapping Terror in Zimbabwe

On March 29 2008 Zimbabweans went to the polls and changed history. For the first time since Independence in 1980, the Zanu PF party lost its majority in parliament and Robert Mugabe lost the Presidential vote.

The Zanu PF regime immediately embarked on a campaign of violence and reprisal attacks against an unarmed peaceful civilian population. Images of brutalised people accompanied by video testimony from the victims has been viewed around the world instilling horror in all those who have seen it.

Sokwanele has mapped a sample of the cases based on recorded first hand testimony from victims, and the interactive map so far bears witness to over 1,000 confirmed experiences of terror and intimidation. The map can be viewed on our website at:

It is a sad truth that there are many more Zimbabweans who have NOT found a way to testify to what has happened to them, so their experiences are not represented on this map.

On Monday (only 10days before the Presidential run-off election) the international media carried reports that Robert Mugabe has been publicly threatening to arrest the MDC leadership.

Referring to the political violence at a rally in Kadoma, Mugabe said “There is now a pattern across the country that has to stop. Sooner rather than later we are going to accuse the MDC and the party leadership of being liable and responsible for those crimes of violence . We are telling them we will arrest you in broad daylight.

Zimbabwean supporters of both political parties know that blaming the MDC for the violence is simply not true. The violence has been so extensive that the whole country has been drawn into it and everyone knows who the perpetrators are and who the victims are. We also all know that the root cause for the violence is because an unpopular party is in the final stages of losing power through a skewed democratic process.

In addition to the undeniable grassroots reality of all our experiences, there have also been a range of reports written by independent organisations clearly pointing out that the first-hand testimony of victims has over and over again placed responsibility for the acts of violence against them in the hands of people allied to the ruling elite or carrying out instructions issued by those currently steering Zanu PF through the electoral process. The media too has provided extensive coverage of a violent rampage against a civilian population.

The link between political violence and the Zanu PF regime’s struggle for power is indisputable. To this end we have tied the location data provided in victim testimonies to Zimbabwean electoral constituencies.

At the time of writing this article, the constituencies most affected from our sample of 1300 cases are:

Muzarabani North, Hurungwe North, Mutoko East, Mudzi North, Mt Darwin North, Uzumba, Mutoko North, Maramba-Pfungwe, Muzarabani South and Mudzi West

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