HEAL Zimbabwe Trust (HZT) has slammed the Zanu PF government for allegedly cultivating a culture of violence and intolerance exhibited during the ongoing parliamentary public hearings on electoral reforms.
Source: Govt accused of cultivating culture of violence – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 1, 2016
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal Affairs was last week forced to abort public hearings on electoral reforms in Bulawayo and Mutare after suspected Zanu PF youths disrupted proceedings, in protest over opposition parties’ demands for a level political playing field.
HZT said the disruptions follow a “now familiar and unacceptable trend”, which exhibits unmitigated intolerance of democratic parliamentary processes, denying citizens a right to input their views on national laws and policies.
“The HZT contends that this culture of violence and intolerance has been perpetuated by the State over the years through either pardoning or failing to hold perpetrators to account,” the HZT said in a statement titled Tolerance is the Hallmark of Elections. “This has compromised the integrity of State institutions responsible for uploading and protecting citizens and the Constitution.”
Last week’s disrupted public hearings follow a petition to Parliament by the Electoral Resource Centre (ERC) calling on legislators to gather citizens’ views on electoral reforms.
HZT said to guarantee peaceful polls, past perpetrators of election violence should be held to account and face justice, adding the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) should also be operationalised.
Zimbabwe’s elections since 1980 have been marred by violence.
In 2008, MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai had to pull out of a presidential run-off election following unprecedented violence against opposition supporters, which left more than 200 maimed or dead and thousands others displaced.
Tsvangirai had won the first round of balloting in March against President Robert Mugabe, but the results were not enough to send him to State House, resulting in a run-off poll.
“The NPRC should deal with the culture of impunity through truth recovery, prosecutions, reparations and restorative justice. The commission must also ensure institutional reforms to restore citizen confidence in state institutions and create conditions for guarantee of non-recurrence.”