Pro-democracy groups have expressed concern over the outbreak of political violence in Zimbabwe ahead of the March 26 council and parliamentary by-elections.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition and Heal Zimbabwe say police should arrest all perpetrators of violence following the death of Mboneni Ncube of Kwekwe, who was stabbed to death on Sunday by suspected Zanu PF supporters while he was attending a rally convened by Nelson Chamisa’s Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC).
In a statement, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition noted with "huge concern", acts of political violence targeted at Zimbabwe’s major opposition party, the Citizens Coalition for Change.
The statement read in part, “It is regrettable that ahead of the March 26 by-elections, we continue to witness acts of political violence emanating from the unholy alliance between law enforcement agents and the ruling party, Zanu PF. Such a scenario has created an uneven playing ground ahead of the March 26 by-elections and the 2023 national elections.
“We deplore the partisan conduct of law enforcement agents and reiterate that law enforcement agents should be apolitical in their conduct of duty. In this regard, we implore law enforcement agents to investigate all acts of political violence and bring perpetrators to book.”
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said it will continue with engagements at local, regional and international level to ensure that the country will conduct credible polls and respect fundamental human rights.
At the same time, Heal Zimbabwe also condemned “in the strongest terms acts of violence targeting members of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) members by alleged ZANU PF supporters in Kwekwe during a rally on 27 February 2022.”
Heal Zimbabwe said the attack come barely a day after Vice President Constantine Chiwenga announced during a rally in Kwekwe that his party was ready to “crush the CCC like lice” and prevent its leader from winning the harmonized elections in 2023.
“Heal Zimbabwe notes that such reckless statements by the vice president incite hate and animosity among political players. Heal Zimbabwe is greatly concerned that while President Emmerson Mnangagwa have been on record calling for peace ahead of elections, his party on one hand has been on the offensive perpetrating violence against political opponents. It is against this background that Heal Zimbabwe calls on political parties to inculcate a new political culture among their supporters that underscores the need for peace and political tolerance. It is Heal Zimbabwe’s view that tolerance and pluralism are principles central to the attainment of peace and also form core pillars of democracy.”
Heal Zimbabwe urged the police to uphold the Constitution and enforce the law without fear, favour or bias in compliance with Section 219 and arrest all perpetrators of the Kwekwe violence.
It implored political parties to “reign in on errant supporters who perpetrate violence. Independent Commissions supporting democracy such as the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) that are funded through taxpayers’ money must fulfill their constitutional obligations and work to support and entrench human rights and democracy in compliance with Section 233 of the constitution.”
Addressing journalists in Harare today, Chamisa also condemned the political violence saying the violence was being perpetrated by Zanu PF, which “wanted bloodshed”.
Chamisa’s remarks were dismissed by the ruling party as wishful thinking.
Police reported that they have arrested 16 people in connection with the death of Mboneni Ncube, who was stabbed at the CCC rally in Kwekwe, Midlands. One of the suspects, Kennedy Simbi, is on the run.