The Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) has decried recent acts of politically motivated violence that rocked Bhunu area in Murehwa North where seven elderly people believed to be opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) supporters were harassed and assaulted by suspected Zanu PF youths.
The incident has sent shivers across the political landscape amid concerns that this year’s harmonised elections may be violent.
In a statement, the churches called on stakeholders to put measures that decisively deal with politically motivated violence ahead of the 2023 harmonised elections.
“The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to make sure that measures are put in place and reinforced to decisively deal with cases of electoral related violence as espoused in the Elections Act. ZEC is further called to allow panics to comply with the best standards for conducting political campaigns including disqualifying potential candidates if proven to have perpetrated political violence.
“Political parties to investigate, caution, publicly condemn and punish their members who are perpetrating violence. Political pony leaders must continue encouraging their supporters to remain peaceful and tolerate political diversity. We encourage all political leaden to desist from barbaric politics, preach the gospel of love for one another, peaceful co-existence and adopt dialogue towards settlement of differences,” said ZCC
The churches called for an urgent all stakeholders conference which will culminate in the signing of an election peace pact
“Convening of an urgent All Stakeholders National Peace Conference where we take stock of the national peace infrastructure, and all political panics sign an Election Peace Pact prepared by the Church working with Chapter 12 Commissions. All political actors and the security sector are encouraged to promote the upholding of individuals freedoms of movement, assembly, association, speech and access to information.
“In conclusion, we ardently call for peace and tolerance. As we approach 2(123 elections lets all contribute to an environment characterized by freedom to campaign, articulate issues. and participate without fear, favor, and prejudices.” said the Churches
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