Youth under the banner of the Youth Coalition on Electoral Reforms have expressed concern over the recent acts of violence that took place in Nyatsime, Chitungwiza between ruling party Zanu PF and opposition party Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) youths and called on the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to be neutral in handling the matter.
This comes after ZRP seem to have only arrested opposition party CCC officials, Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole for allegedly inciting violence amid reports that some Zanu pf youths were also actively involved in the skirmishes.
Addressing journalists in Harare, Youth Forum Zimbabwe director, Avoid Masiraha said it is distressing how youths are being used as perpetrators and victims of political violence ahead of the decisive plebiscite next year.
“The increased political violence in the country and the seemingly biased conduct of the police in the country has led to increased polarization and retribution among political parties which is unfortunate given next year’s election. Events that took place in Nyatsime are instructive this regard on how the police has not only created a sense of bias but also inadvertently led to retributive behavior among, political actors
“Youth are being used as perpetrators of violence but they are also victims of political violence, that’s a reality that we have in Zimbabwe. What we are doing now is to educate the young people on the level of participation that they should exhibit as we go for the 2023 elections.
“We are encouraging them to participate not just to participate but to participate peacefully therefore we are also telling them not to be used because it’s detrimental to their life and their aspirations as citizens of Zimbabwe,” said Masiraha
He lamented the use of political intimidation against opposition supporters on social media saying it was against the dictates of the Constitution.
“Political intimidation Pronouncements by political actors to intimidate their political foes continues even against the constitutional dictates of the land. There are individuals who have come out on social media holding firearms threatening opposition supporters and no arrests have been made so far which again brings to question the impartiality of the police,” he said.
Masiraha called on political leaders in the country to exercise responsibility ahead of the 2023 harmonized elections.