CSOs demand violence probe 

Source: CSOs demand violence probe –Newsday Zimbabwe

Matobo violence

HUMAN rights groups and electoral watchdogs have piled pressure on police to act on increasing cases of political violence across the country as political temperatures heat up ahead of the 2023 elections.

The calls come after 30 villagers in Insiza, Matabeleland South including Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Bulawayo legislator Jasmine Toffa were reportedly attacked on Monday night by suspected Zanu PF supporters.

On Sunday, scores of CCC members were attacked in Matobo in the same province while campaigning for their candidate ahead of an October 22 local government by-election.

“To stem the culture of violence, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) calls upon the Zimbabwe Republic Police to urgently and thoroughly investigate the acts of violence that took place in Matobo and all other incidents of political violence across the country and bring perpetrators of violence to account irrespective of their political party affiliation,” the ZLHR said in a statement.

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) said the violent clashes had a potential to adversely affect citizens’ participation in democratic electoral processes.

The Zimbabwe Human Right NGO Forum said: “The Forum condemns violence and urges the police to take decisive action against the perpetrators.”

The Election Resource Centre (ERC) said increasing cases of political violence throughout the country were worrisome.

“ERC calls on responsible bodies to investigate and prosecute the instigators of violence without fear or favour. With each subsequent by-election, the pattern and use of violence has intensified,” ERC said.

The country’s election season, dating back to 2000, has largely been marred by violence.