The ruling party, ZanuPF has come under fire for allegedly sponsoring political violence in Murehwa North which left suspected opposition supporters injured.
The violence was captured on a video which circulated on social media over the weekend and showed suspected ZanuPF supporters using logs and open fists to attack people believed to belong to the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party who had gathered for a meeting.
Several organizations have castigated the violence while calling on ZanuPF to exercise restraint.
The Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) Zimbabwe said ZanuPF must stop condoning violence.
“We call upon ZANU-PF and the government of Zimbabwe to stop sponsoring and condoning political violence for political expedience.
“In terms of section 44 of The Constitution of Zimbabwe, the State and every person must respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights and freedoms set out in Chapter 4 of the said Constitution.
“These include the right to human dignity (Section 51), freedom of assembly and association (section 58) as well as political rights (section 67),” the statement said.
Crisis Coalition in Zimbabwe (CiCZ) weighed in and said the country is not ready for free, fair and nonviolent elections given the escalating cases of violence.
“If you look at the prevailing conditions, they do not point out a country ready for free, fair and credible elections. The violence we have witnessed during the by-elections in areas such as Insiza and the continuous arrest of opposition activists such as Job Sikhala currently languishing in remand prison without trial casts doubt on the credibility of the upcoming elections.
“What we are seeing now is a playing field tilted towards the ruling party with the opposition party not being allowed to organize rallies,” Cicz national director Blessing Vava.
Opposition politician, Tendai Biti accused ZanuPF of fueling violence in Mashonaland East over the years.
“The recent violence unleashed on citizens in Murewa is completely unacceptable. The right to belong to a different political party is a constitutional right. #ZANU can’t seek to recalibrate Zimbabwe as a one-party State,” Biti said.
However, ZanuPF Director of Information, Tafadzwa Mugwadi exonerated his party from the violence saying none of the perpetrators were identified as card carrying members.
“Clearly, there is nothing in statements uttered or visuals shown which identifies the culprits as ZANU PF supporters,” Mugwadi said.
Meanwhile, the Women’s Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence (WALPE) has implored political parties to desist from using women to further political agenda.
WALPE said parties must ensure that women are better placed to take up leadership positions to cover the gender gap.
“Women should not be used as pawns and vehicles for political intolerance, instead they should be at the forefront of fostering peace, harmony and tolerance; not to be the drivers of fear, intimidation, harassment, violence and bullying,” WALPE said.
It further called on the law enforcement authorities to take action against the perpetrators and bring them to justice as such actions deter women from taking part in the electoral processes.
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