ZLHR condemns political violence

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) deplores acts of political violence or calls to use violence to settle political scores by some members of political parties.

This unfortunate incident was followed by intra-party violence within the Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai’s provincial party offices in Bulawayo on Sunday 06 August 2017.

According to media reports, violent clashes erupted at the MDC-T’s party offices after some youths stormed a meeting which was being addressed by Hon. Thokozani Khupe, the opposition party’s Vice-President.

In a statement issued on Monday 07 August 2017, MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai confirmed the intra-party violence.

ZLHR condemns such acts of violence and urges the MDC-T party supporters and other political parties to refrain from resorting to violence as a means of resolving differences.

Tolerance of differing opinions is a crucial aspect of democracy and these violent actions will further limit the right of people to exercise their constitutionally protected freedoms of peaceful assembly, expression and association, which are guaranteed under the Constitution and Zimbabwe’s international human rights obligations and are core values of any democracy.

Regrettably this is not an isolated incident.

In fact, over the last few weeks, ZLHR has observed wanton acts of political violence and some worrying statements inciting violence and made by the leader of Zimbabwe African Union Patriotic Front (ZANU PF) Robert Mugabe on 21 July 2017 at one of his Presidential Youth Interface rallies. President Mugabe encouraged his party supporters to mete instant justice on those that perpetrate violence in the name of ZANU PF.

ZLHR strongly condemns such irresponsible utterances encouraging party supporters to “kick and punish” individuals and groups, accused of perpetrating and committing acts of violence in the name of his ruling party.

Therefore, ZLHR calls upon;

– The MDC-T and all political parties to promote the values and practices of tolerance, to do everything to stop and prevent all forms of political violence

– All political parties ensure that their members and supporters respect the constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of expression, assembly and association

– The Zimbabwe Republic Police to objectively investigate this incident and all other incidences of political violence including the one in which President Mugabe recently acknowledged to have been perpetrated by some of his party supporters against perceived opponents and ensure that perpetrators are brought to book irrespective of their political party affiliation and to maintain law and order, protect and secure the lives and security of people and enforce the law impartially.

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

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