MDC-T’s needless resort to political violence uncalled for

ZIMBABWE Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) strongly condemns the continued eruption of intra-party political violence and the endless conflict among leaders and supporters of the MDC-T political party.

On Sunday 04 March 2018, violent clashes broke out among supporters of MDC-T party leaders Hon. Nelson Chamisa and Hon. Thokozani Khupe reportedly over the control of the opposition party’s provincial offices in Bulawayo. The bloody skirmishes left some party supporters nursing severe injuries and hospitalised.

ZLHR condemns the disgraceful and growing culture, which shockingly seems to have been embraced by the MDC-T party leadership and supporters of resorting to the use of violence as a means to resolve and settle political differences.

It is imperative for the MDC-T leadership and its supporters to realise that tolerance of differing opinions is a core value of democracy and employing violent tendencies and actions limits the fundamental right of people to exercise their constitutionally protected freedoms of peaceful assembly and association, and expression, which are all guaranteed in Section 58 and 61 of the Constitution and Zimbabwe’s regional and international human rights obligations.

ZLHR is worried that despite cautioning the MDC-T party in recent months, particularly in August 2017 and recently on 21 February 2018, the lack of decisive and punitive actions and sanctions on perpetrators of violence is encouraging repeated incidences and impunity.

The MDC-T party must embrace a strict, bold and consistent intolerance to any forms of violence and conflict within the opposition political party.

ZLHR calls upon the MDC-T party leadership and its supporters to urgently take swift action and amicably resolve differences and put their house in order without the needless resort to violence.

Political party supporters must understand that no matter any differences that may arise or people may have, any resort to violence cannot be justified and tolerated.

As an organisation, which is committed to fostering a culture of human rights, ZLHR urges the MDC-T party leadership and its supporters to foster peaceful strategies of resolving conflict and unequivocally denounce violence and stop committing political violence.

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

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