Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCOZ), a women’s rights organization has condemned the post elections violence that rocked Harare resulting in the deaths of six people while up to 25 were left nursing injuries, urging political leaders to desist from issuing inflammatory statements.
In statement released last week, WCOZ expressed deep concern over the use of live ammunition on innocent civilians by the army saying such actions have devastating effects on the participation of women in public political affairs.
“We strongly condemn, the use of live ammunition on civilians as unacceptable measures taken to effect crowd control and remove protestors. This placed women, the elderly and children at risk. Accordingly, we demand a full and proper investigation of the military and police as well as public accounting for the events that transpired on the 1st of August 2018,
“We call upon all electoral stakeholders to urgently intensify the exercise of their respective mandates ensuring peace, security and safety of all citizens. We urge compliance with Section 52 of the Zimbabwean Constitution, which provides every person the right to bodily and psychological integrity, including the right to freedom from all forms of violence from public and private sources,
“Presidential Candidates and their respective political parties must desist from making inflammatory statements both formally and informally. Both sides of the political aisle must act with restraint and not resort to violence. We call upon the media, to provide women’s rights responsive media coverage that promotes women’s dignity and voice,” they said.
WCOZ added that the Zimbabwe Defense Forces and Zimbabwe Republic Police must respect the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials (Adopted in Cuba, 1990).
“All electoral actors have taken actions that remind women, once again, that Zimbabwean public spaces are spaces of violence and fear. This violence and fear has a devastating impact on women’s rights and their participation in public political affairs.
“Such actions therefore, undermine the Section 56 constitutional provision of equality and non-discrimination including the right to equal access to political opportunities for women.”
“The International Community here present, including the Southern African Development Community, African Union, European Union and United Nations must continue to uphold their commitments to ensuring Zimbabwe finds peaceful and lasting solutions that respect and protect the rights of women in this post-election phase. “added WCOZ.
WCOZ reminded electoral players and institutions that the women of Zimbabwe have been and will continue to demand an election that is free, fair, credible, peaceful and equitable, delivered through transparent, accountable and most of all peaceful processes leading to non-contested results.