JSC assigns magistrates to preside over political violence cases




Chief Justice Luke Malaba

HARARE – The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has assigned three magistrates to deal with politically-motivated violence ahead of the Harare Municipality by-election.

In a Government Gazette published on Friday, JSC chairperson Luke Malaba designated Elisha Singano, Victoria Mashamba and Stanford Mambanje in accordance with the Electoral Act.

“It is hereby notified  that the JSC has in terms of sections 133 J(3) of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13), designated the magistrates…to try cases of politically-motivated violence and intimidation in Harare province before, during and after the Harare Municipality ward 46 by-election,” Malaba said in the notice.

The by-election, whose date was not specified, follows the death of Luckmore Mangawa, who succumbed to meningitis in June this year.

Although confidence has been lost in the Judiciary, which observers accuse of being partisan and biased towards the ruling Zanu PF, a recent court judgment sentenced a Zanu PF activist to six years in prison for perpetrating political violence.

The 35-year-old activist from Epworth — Dunmore Mapfumo — had gone on a rampage, stabbing people who refused to attend a political gathering in April this year.

Meanwhile, peace advocacy organisation, Heal Zimbabwe Trust (HZT), has recorded 21 cases of intimidation linked to political activities in 14 districts from July 24 to August 18 this year.

Five cases of forced attendance to political gatherings were also recorded.

“HZT observed that the majority of the human rights cases recorded are mainly centred on the on-going presidential youth interface rallies, Zanu PF party restructuring processes and the falsehoods coined around the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) process,” the organisation said in a statement recently.

“Community members are being forced to attend Zanu PF restructuring meetings whether they support the party or not. Cases of harassment and intimidation are worrying especially now as the nation heads towards the 2018 plebiscite.

“HZT perceives intimidation as a hindrance to peaceful coexistence and a stumbling block towards freedom of expression in local communities and achievement of free, fair, peaceful and credible elections.” – Daily News