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Public Violence Ahead of Parly By-election Worrying Zimbabweans

FILE: A woman carrying a child casts her vote at a polling station in Domboshava, about 45 km (28 miles) north of Harare, July 31, 2013.

Zimbabwe Human Rights (ZimRights) has condemned as “uncalled for”, a weekend attack on members of the opposition Transform Zimbabwe (TZ) by suspected Zanu PF activists, angered by their move to clean the streets of Chitungwiza and Harare to curb the spread of typhoid and other water-borne diseases.

In a statement, ZimRights noted with grave concern the politically-motivated attack on three TZ members by suspected Zanu PF youth.

“ZimRights condemns the gross violation of human rights, the unruly behaviour by the Zanu-PF youths, and warns of the dire effects of political violence especially as the country heads towards elections in 2018.

“The unwarranted disruption of the clean-up campaign and political violence are an unfortunate case of unconstitutional behaviour and a gross violation of the law for which the perpetrators must be brought to book.”

The organization said Section 58 of the Constitution gives Zimbabweans the right to associate and assembly. It also said Section 67 of Constitution makes it clear that people in Zimbabwe have the freedom to participate the activities of their political party or organisation of their choice.

ZimRights called upon the government to safeguard these fundamental human rights.

The three victims were reportedly attacked during a clean-up campaign at a flea market at Makoni Shopping Centre in Chitungwiza on Saturday.

One of the Transform Zimbabwe members, Kudakwashe Chikwanha, sustained a cut on the head during the assault after the Zanu-PF youth allegedly disrupted the event, which had been cleared by police.

FILE: Supporters of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe cheer upon his arrival for the opening of the first session of the eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe in Harare, Sept. 17, 2013.
FILE: Supporters of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe cheer upon his arrival for the opening of the first session of the eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe in Harare, Sept. 17, 2013.

Meanwhile, Heal Zimbabwe has expressed grave concern over reports of intimidation of citizens recorded in Mwenezi East constituency in Masvingo Province, ahead of the April 8th 2017 parliamentary by election.

It said, “On 8 January 2017, Zanu PF Ward 4 chairperson, Tobias Mahowa, held a meeting at Chimbudzi Business Centre. At the meeting, he encouraged people to register to vote as soon as possible as voter registration for the by election commences.

“Mahowa also announced that as soon as people finish registering, they should all proceed to his homestead and show him their registration slips. He also pointed out that if people defy his orders, Zanu PF was going to unleash a terror campaign on anyone who defies the order.”

Heal Zimbabwe also claimed that on the same day in Ward 2, Zanu PF youth led by their Ward vice chairperson, Ezra Mashindi, moved around the ward threatening people that on 15 February 2017 they should all go to the ward centre and purchase Zanu PF membership cards that cost $3.

“The youths announced that anyone who defies the order will not receive any food aid that comes into the ward. In ward 5, Zanu PF ward chairperson Pinias Shoko also addressed a rally at Chingani Primary school on 8 February 2017 and warned that if people fail to register to vote in the coming by election, Zanu PF was going to unleash violence on people.

“Shoko also announced that he has already deployed a team of Zanu PF youths in the ward to compile names of people and their identity numbers so that he can monitor (sic) when the voter registration process commences.”

Heal Zimbabwe said such practices and threats ahead of the by-election “are a total disregard of constitutional provision 67 which provides for political rights. The said provision states that “every citizen has the right to form, join and to participate in the activities of a political party of their choice”.

It further noted that Section 156 of the constitution compelled the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to eliminate electoral violence and other electoral malpractices.

There was no immediate Zanu PF reaction on both issues.

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