It’s one day to go before the 26 March 2022 by elections. The run up to the elections has been marred by cases of organised violence against Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) supporters. The recent brutal torture and assault of CCC supporter, Godfrey Karembera by police sums up the violent crackdown of organised violence against opposition party supporters as the day draws closer. What has been rather disturbing in the run up to the by elections, is the partisan conduct of the police. On several occasions, the police has either attempted to disrupt CCC rallies or instituted a series of arbitrary arrests as well as turning down requests by CCC to conduct voter mobilisation rallies.
The recent incident was the banning of the Epworth rally. CCC had to resort to the courts to get the ban lifted. In some cases, the police has given unconvincing reasons for banning rallies organised by CCC.Meanwhile,in constituencies with by elections, Traditional leaders, ZANU PF structures and elected officials such as Councillors have escalated clampdown on political activities organised by CCC. In Chivi South for example war veteran ,Jephias Njenge has been leading an onslaught crusade against CCC members. On 21 March 2022, he announced during a Polling Agents training at Neruvanga Secondary school in ward 31 that all CCC supporters were going to be assaulted if the ZANU PF candidate loses the by election. In ward 25,Village head Mutsigo has been conducting regular meetings at his homestead and intimidating community members and also highlighted that on the day of the by election, he will be monitoring people as they cast their vote.
Heal Zimbabwe has noted that these anomalies compromise standards for free and fair elections set out in the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections. These principles underscore the need for political tolerance, independence of electoral bodies as well as a competent justice system.
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Source: Heal Zimbabwe