Political parties must stem political violence: ZimRights

via Political parties must stem political violence: ZimRights – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 13, 2015

A HUMAN rights lobby group, ZimRights, has urged Zanu PF and MDC-T to swiftly stem the new wave of political violence that has swept across Harare.

BY Everson Mushava

ZimRights director, Okay Machisa, said his organisation unreservedly condemned the bloody intra-party political violence and urged political parties to publicly denounce such practices.

“The resurgence of political violence is a retrogressive and unfortunate occurrence, after Zimbabwe witnessed a significant reduction in violent political rivalry in the last two years and the relatively peaceful harmonised elections in 2013,” he said yesterday.

“Settling political scores through violence is a primitive, unconstitutional and unacceptable way of advancing political arguments and the Parliament of Zimbabwe must immediately call parties to account.”

A fortnight ago, violence broke out in Harare South, after Zanu PF supporters disrupted an MDC-T rally. Last Sunday, violence rocked Harare South again after police steeped in to block another MDC-T rally.

On Tuesday, three MDC-T supporters, James Chidhakwa, Keith Charumbira and Rhino Mashaya were brutally assaulted by suspected Zanu-PF supporters in Mbare after attending a court hearing for the 17 MDC-T supporters who were arrested in relation to another clash.

The injured are reportedly being treated at a Harare hospital, with Mashaya having lost four teeth in the skirmishes.

Machisa said political violence was criminal and a violation of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, which allows citizens to be involved with and peacefully campaign for political parties and causes of their choice without hindrance.

“ZimRights calls upon the police to investigate and arrest impartially in addressing issues of political violence, stop being involved in political violence in support of any parties and adhere to the dictates of the new Constitution,” he said.

“Political leaders of the two parties must pronounce themselves unequivocally in condemnation of the political skirmishes and avoid inflammatory statements.”

Machisa said the government should also urgently set up the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission to foster peace and harmony ahead of the 2018 harmonised elections, while the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission should also investigate the recent incidences.