Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) working with Heal Zimbabwe from across the country have bemoaned the escalation of human rights violations in constituencies that are scheduled to conduct by elections on 26 March 2022.This came out during a Human Rights training workshop training conducted by Heal Zimbabwe on 12 January 2022.
The objective of the training was to improve the capacity of HRDs to document and systematically report cases of human rights violations ahead of the 26 March by-elections. Participants noted that since the proclamation of the by election date, there has been an increase in cases of human rights violations in constituencies where by elections will be conducted.”In Umzingwane ward 20, an aspiring Councillor, Thokozile Dube has been directed by ZANU PF members to withdraw her candidacy from the local council by election for ward 20.She is constantly being threatened with violence if she fails to do so”, said one participant from Umzingwane. In Kwekwe central, ZANU PF members, Gibson Tirongo and Kudakwashe Gwamuri are threatening opposition candidates with violence and have on numerous occasions disrupted voter mobilisation meetings. In constituencies such as Glenview North, Murehwa South and Kuwadzana campaign posters for opposition party candidates have been defaced and this has increased tensions ahead of the by elections.”We have identified people defacing our campaign posters here in Glenview North and we have made numerous reports to the police but to no avail”, added another participant from Glenview North.
As part of resolutions, the meeting concluded that there was need for HRDs to continue documenting and reporting cases of human rights violations and making referrals to responsible institutions such as the police, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC).
The meetings by Heal Zimbabwe are part of efforts to create dialogues among citizens as this helps to safeguard against human rights abuse and also help build peaceful communities. Heal Zimbabwe utilizes various strategies to address conflicts in local communities. One of these ways is the use of community dialogues, an initiative for communities to discuss and collectively identify ways through which they can proffer solutions to problems in their communities. Such platforms also facilitate local level conversations on pertinent issues affecting communities as well as create socially cohesive communities.
Source: Heal Zimbabwe