Civil society groups have castigated the recent acts of violence in the Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai calling on the leading opposition party to take a leading role in promoting peace in the country.
In a statement released on Monday, Zimbabwe Peace Project condemned the Bulawayo violence urging the MDC-T leadership to avoid inflammatory statements on rallies and social media.
“The ZPP condemns in the strongest terms all acts of political violence and political intolerance. All citizens including those that belong to the same political party have the right to differ,” noted ZPP.
The peace advocacy group said political party leaders hold the key to usher a peaceful election in 2018 adding that political parties should avoid inflammatory statements on public platforms such as rallies or social media.
“The MDC-T has to shake off the history of perpetrating violence against those within it who hold different views.
“In the past Ambassador Trudy Stevenson and Elton Mangoma have been victims of this kind of violence,” noted ZPP.
The group urged the MDC-T to urgently investigate and take action against those involved in the skirmishes that saw the party’s vice President, Thokozani Khupe sustaining serious injuries.
Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) said the MDC-T which has perennially complained of violence against its members should know better the dire effects of such actions.
“Any incidences of violence by any political party in Zimbabwe for whatever purpose is repugnant to human rights and democratic expression.
“Political violence is never, has never been and will never be a legitimate means of political communication, expression and debate under whatever circumstances, but a blatantly criminal act that must be abhorred by any true democrat,” noted ZimRights.
“At a time when all political parties and leaders must work tirelessly to promote peace and tolerance for political differences, the MDC-T violence is an unfortunate deviation from that commitment ahead of the 2018 harmonised elections,” added ZimRights.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) said the recent actions by the MDC-T is disappointing as it is against the values and principles which the party stands for.
CiZC said political parties should promote peace and tolerance at party level as a way of reducing and addressing violence at national level.
“Acts of intimidation, inter or intra party politically motivated violence are not acceptable and have no place in any democracy,” noted CiZC adding that party leaders should be the ambassadors of peace who have a duty to preach tolerance and peace especially among their supporters.
Writing on his Twitter account, cleric and businessman, Dr Shingi Munyeza said violence of any nature by anyone for whatever reason is abhorred.
“Violence of any nature by anyone for whatever reason is abhorred and leadership must be quick to denounce otherwise they are culpable also,” wrote Munyeza.
The Elton Mangoma led Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe (RDZ) said the events are reminiscent of the same treatment its leader endured at the hands of party youths during his time as the party Treasurer General.