The Zimbabwe Peace Project is disturbed by reports of coercion and unjust enrichment by ruling party activists who are demanding money and intimidating ordinary citizens into attending the upcoming ‘Interface with the youth rally’ to be addressed by President Robert Mugabe at Sakubva Stadium in Mutare.
Source: Villagers forced to donate towards youth rally – The Zimbabwean 15.06.2017
The ruling party leadership has allegedly called for the closure of businesses and schools temporarily for people to attend the rally. Informal traders who normally conduct their trading near the stadium have had their vending stalls demolished by local authorities.
The Provincial Affairs Minister for Manicaland, Mandiitawepi Chimene, is said to have told a gathering in Mutare that even unroadworthy vehicles will be allowed on the roads for the purposes of ferrying people to the stadium to meet the president. The constitution says in Section 56 that all persons are equal before the law and have the right to equal protection and benefit of the law. The pronouncements by Minister Chimene have the effect of elevating ruling party supporters above the law.
In another incident it was reported that on the 14th of June, Mutasa villagers were forced to contribute towards the rally. Unidentified Zanu PF youths were demanding $2 from each vendor at Watsomba Business Centre in ward 21 of Mutasa Central.
Section 67(1)b stipulates that every Zimbabwean has the right to make political choices freely. This means that citizens may not be coerced into attending political rallies or making monetary contributions to parties that they do not support.
The ruling party is not only going against its own ethos of ‘nzira dzemasoja’ where they have claimed to teach their followers not to forcibly benefit from other people’s private property by demanding money but they are also violating the rights of these people as guaranteed by the constitution.
Political parties have every right to organize meetings of their supporters but it is the right of every citizen to decide the party they want to associate and assemble with. With elections coming up when political meetings and rallies will increase ZPP appeals to Zanu PF to appeal to its supporters to exercise restraint when mobilizing and organizing for political events.
ZPP reiterates that the main message to the youths should be that of desisting from perpetrating political violence. Since there exist other political parties other than Zanu PF and it will be prudent for the leaders of Zanu PF especially the President and First secretary of Zanu PF to impress a culture of tolerance amongst the supporters of the party in general and amongst the youth specifically.
ZPP is a Non Governmental Organization that was founded in 2000 by a group of faith based and human rights NGOs working and interested in human rights and peace-building initiatives. ZPP has become a vehicle for civic interventions in times of political crises. In particular, ZPP seeks to monitor and document incidents of human rights violations and breaches of peace.
If you are concerned about acts of violence in your community, ZPP encourages you to get in touch with us on Hotline and WhatsApp numbers +263 774 883 406 and +263 774 883 417 Toll Free: 080 80199