Political clashes set dangerous precedent for 2018

On 18 June 2017, in Ward 23, Chitungwiza Zanu PF youths allegedly assaulted MDC-T youths. The MDC-T youths were meeting at the home of Chitungwiza Deputy Organising Secretary of the Women’s Assembly, Anna Mutara when they were attacked.

The perpetrators were identified as Peter Anusi and Lazarus Gomo who are both known Zanu PF activists in the area. They instigated violence together with Gilbert Manyozo, Timothy Chitembwe, Martin, Mbombo and Pardon Chitembwe.

The attacks resulted in the destruction of Mutara’s house and some people, including Zano Boore, sustaining minor injuries. The case was reported at Makoni Police Station (RRB number 3190605) and some of the perpetrators have reported to the police station for questioning. The same perpetrators have been accused of attacking, MDC-T activist, Leeroy Sanyika in April this year.

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Zanu PF youths maliciously damaged Matara’s home.

ZPP is also disheartened by an incident of malicious damage to property in Village 5 of Ward 26 at Nsangu Jahana in Shangani on Sunday 11 June. Zanu PF youths led by councillor Edith Gumbo, Zanu PF ward chairperson Shame Mathe, Virginia Mathe, Kinana Dlodlo are said to have raided the home of village head, Enerst Nxumalo.

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The home of Nxumalo was left in shambles after Zanu PF youths raided it and looted valuable property.

The Zanu PF supporters are said to have physically assaulted Nxumalo, his wife, mother and nephew and looted property that includes a generator, inverter and building tools. Some members of the family sustained serious injuries and the 13-year-old nephew is still admitted at a Bulawayo hospital where he is said to be suffering from seizures attributed to brain damage.

Political clashes of this nature set a dangerous precedent ahead of the 2018 elections. While Zanu PF has been lauded for talking boldly against political violence the nation is still to see the party walk this talk. The constitution has provisions that allow for the sanctioning of perpetrators of political violence and ZPP is keen on seeing known perpetrators brought to account for their actions. Unless stern measures are taken against perpetrators the country will continue to experience political violence rendering the political environment non conducive. The constitution affords all citizens the right to personal security and equal protection of the law.

Zimbabwe Peace Project urges police to deal with all perpetrators of political violence regardless of their political affiliation as provided for in the law in order to stamp out a culture of impunity. Political party leadership should desist from settling scores using public office but should foster peace and conflict resolution mechanisms. ZPP also urges political parties to invest in peace building initiatives so as to inculcate a culture of political tolerance and dialogue.

Villagers forced to donate towards youth rally

The Zimbabwe Peace Project is disturbed by reports of coercion and unjust enrichment by ruling party activists who are demanding money and intimidating ordinary citizens into attending the upcoming ‘Interface with the youth rally’ to be addressed by President Robert Mugabe at Sakubva Stadium in Mutare.

The ruling party leadership has allegedly called for the closure of businesses and schools temporarily for people to attend the rally. Informal traders who normally conduct their trading near the stadium have had their vending stalls demolished by local authorities.

The Provincial Affairs Minister for Manicaland, Mandiitawepi Chimene, is said to have told a gathering in Mutare that even unroadworthy vehicles will be allowed on the roads for the purposes of ferrying people to the stadium to meet the president. The constitution says in Section 56 that all persons are equal before the law and have the right to equal protection and benefit of the law. The pronouncements by Minister Chimene have the effect of elevating ruling party supporters above the law.

In another incident it was reported that on the 14th of June, Mutasa villagers were forced to contribute towards the rally. Unidentified Zanu PF youths were demanding $2 from each vendor at Watsomba Business Centre in ward 21 of Mutasa Central.

Section 67(1)b stipulates that every Zimbabwean has the right to make political choices freely. This means that citizens may not be coerced into attending political rallies or making monetary contributions to parties that they do not support.

The ruling party is not only going against its own ethos of ‘nzira dzemasoja’ where they have claimed to teach their followers not to forcibly benefit from other people’s private property by demanding money but they are also violating the rights of these people as guaranteed by the constitution.

Political parties have every right to organize meetings of their supporters but it is the right of every citizen to decide the party they want to associate and assemble with. With elections coming up when political meetings and rallies will increase ZPP appeals to Zanu PF to appeal to its supporters to exercise restraint when mobilizing and organizing for political events.

ZPP reiterates that the main message to the youths should be that of desisting from perpetrating political violence. Since there exist other political parties other than Zanu PF and it will be prudent for the leaders of Zanu PF especially the President and First secretary of Zanu PF to impress a culture of tolerance amongst the supporters of the party in general and amongst the youth specifically.

 

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