The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) has expressed shock and concern at the increasing language of hate coming mainly from ZANU PF ahead of the opposition-led July 31 protests.
The association said the recent remarks by the acting ZANU PF spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa incited violence at a time the political situation is highly polarised.
Chinamasa attracted ire on Monday after he labelled the opposition, MDC Alliance a ‘terrorist organization’, United States Ambassador ‘a thug’ and civil society ‘evil society’.
He further incited violence by urging ZANU PF supporters to attack any people who will protest against corruption on July 31.
“These comments, coming from senior leadership of a governing party must shock the conscience of all people who value peace and understand the sacred values of an open democratic society.
“Zimbabwe is founded upon the values and principles of rule of law, fundamental human rights and freedoms as outlined in section 3 of the Constitution. Section 59 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe guarantees every person’s right to demonstrate and petition. The reaction by Zimbabwe’s ruling party to the peoples’ desire to exercise constitutionally guaranteed rights is unfortunate,” ZimRights said in a statement.
The association said the utterances by Chinamasa were out of order as they will likely cause violence.
“There is ample evidence that where the language of hate is unleashed by leaders of the ruling party, violence follows. In 1999, ahead of the farm invasions, former ZANU PF leader the late Robert Mugabe told his supporters that they must ‘strike fear into the hearts of the white men.’
“What resulted was an outbreak of violence in commercial farms leading to the displacement of over 1,8 million people and the killing of several farmworkers and commercial farmers,” the statement further reads.
In 2008 ahead of the June election run-off, after losing an election to Morgan Tsvangirai, Robert Mugabe told his supporters that the ballot would never defeat the gun.
What followed was a bloodbath that left over 200 opposition supporters dead and thousands of nursing injuries.
“It appears this culture of violence is also characterizing the leadership of ZANU PF, even in the post-Mugabe era. A few weeks ago, Mr. Chinamasa used the same hate speech against journalist Hopewell Chin’ono calling him ‘unscrupulous’ for whistleblowing on corruption related to the procurement of COVID-19 materials. What followed was a violent attack on Hopewell Chin’ono’s home and ultimately his arrest,” ZimRights Noted.
ZimRights said is concerned when people with access to state power, who control the machinery of violence show a propensity to be irresponsible in speech. It is a failure of responsible leadership.
“Leaders must be seen to be promoting peace and dialogue and protecting fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution of the country,” ZimRights noted.
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