Heal Zimbabwe condemns in the strongest terms the violent episodes of violence targeting members of the newly formed Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) members ahead of the March by elections. In the month of February alone, Heal Zimbabwe recorded an increase in cases of violence against CCC supporters. More worrying is the complicit hand of the police in perpetuating violence.
On 6 February 2022, ZANU PF members attacked CCC supporters in Kwekwe and disrupted a voter mobilisation exercise that was underway. On 14 February 2022, CCC Vice President, Tendai Biti and his aides were arbitrarily arrested in Harare East but were released without charge. On 16 February 2022, ZANU PF supporters attacked CCC supporters in Harare East for wearing yellow t-shirts. On 18 February 2022, CCC member, DJ Vaneldo was attacked by ZANU PF supporters who accused him of supporting CCC and mobilizing people to register to vote in Highfields.On the same day, 13 CCC members were arrested in Highfields for staging a car rally meant to mobilize support and encourage citizens to vote in the upcoming by elections. While in police custody, the 13 were heavily assaulted by the police and denied access to medical services.
Ahead of ZANU PF rally on 12 February 2022 in Epworth that was addressed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, vendors operating at Overspill, Dombo shops and other business centres were force marched to rallies and threatened with violence if they failed to attend the rally. Heal Zimbabwe notes that all these violations go against the grain of Section 67 of the constitution that provides for political rights where every citizen has the exclusive right to form, join and participate in activities of a political party of their choice.
Heal Zimbabwe further notes that these recent acts of violence expose insincerity by the ruling party over the need for peace ahead of the March by elections. It further exposes the high levels of political intolerance among political players. The lack of political will to deal with past state sponsored atrocities has created impunity and a culture of violence among political players. More worrying is the complicit hand of law enforcement agents in perpetrating violence such as the police. The use of violence and arbitrary arrests against CCC supporters exposes the police lack of impartiality and failure to uphold the rule of law. Section 208 (2) (a) (b) and (c) of the constitution highlight that members of the security services must not act in a partisan manner, further the interest of any political party or cause and violate the fundamental rights and freedoms of any person.
In light of this, Heal Zimbabwe implores the police to uphold the Constitution and enforce the law without fear, favour or bias in compliance with Section 219. Heal Zimbabwe also implores political parties to reign in on errant supporters who perpetrate violence. The upsurge in cases of politically motivated violence also justifies why Heal Zimbabwe has been on record advocating for the speedy establishment of an Independent Complaints Mechanism provided for under Section 210 of the constitution. This mechanism once operational, receives and investigates complaints from members of the public about misconduct on the part of security services and for remedying any harm caused by such misconduct.
Heal Zimbabwe further implores MDC-T and other political parties to abide by the Electoral Code of Conduct for Political Parties and Candidates which stipulates that NO political party or any of its members or supporters, and NO candidate or any of his or her supporters, may:
- Use violence, or threaten violence or incite or encourage the use of violence, against anyone on account of his or her political opinions or membership or support of a political party or participation in the election;
- Intimidate, or incite or encourage the intimidation, of anyone on account of his or her political opinions or membership or support of a political party; act in a way that may provoke violence or intimidation;
- Use violence or threats or illegal pressure to force voter to refrain from voting or to vote for a candidate or political party against his or her will;
- Force a voter to reveal the identity of the candidate voted for or take reprisals against a person because of the way in which he or she has voted or is believed to have voted.
Source: Heal Zimbabwe