Harare ‑ Zimbabwean legislators and civic society organisations are seeking an end to political violence which has characterised the past few weeks as the country moves towards this elections this year.
The legislators want “something done” ahead of the coming elections.
MDC-T acting president and Kuwadzana East MP Nelson Chamisa on Wednesday pleaded with President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the National Assembly to intervene and order a stop to politically-motivated violence.
“I want to alert the House that Parliament needs to do something on the issue of vulnerability of MPs pertaining to violent attacks on them. I have checked with the police and noted that there was an attack on Epworth MP Zalerah Makari by known people, and the motive is unknown,” he said.
“I am saying this because we are seeing an escalation of attacks on MPs and citizens, particularly as we approach general elections, yet we do not want elections to be tainted by violence and instability, and this issue must be taken to the President so that his call for peaceful elections is taken seriously.”
Makari, a Zanu-PF legislator, was reportedly pelted with stones on Tuesday and forced to abandon a local government ministry meeting in her constituency, while National People’s Party leader Joice Mujuru and her entourage were last week also stoned by suspected Zanu-PF supporters at a rally in Glen Norah and Glen View high-density suburbs in the capital.
Human rights and peace watchdog Heal Zimbabwe Trust (HZT) condemned the attacks, saying political intolerance was “barbaric and uncalled for”.
HZT said they were recording numerous acts of violence across the country, adding that if the intolerance is not addressed, it would compromise the prospects of peace and negatively influence free participation of people in electoral processes.
The peace watchdog said political parties should be torchbearers in creating a conducive environment for the electorate to freely participate in the plebiscite without fear of reprisals.
“Political parties must take the centre stage of condemning violence and also put stringent measures of punishing all members who engage in violent processes. Heal Zimbabwe appeals to the police to investigate and arrest all the perpetrators involved in violent activities,” it said.
“The organisation further calls upon the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to put in place mechanisms that ensure elections are held in a free, fair, transparent and peaceful manner.
“The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission, which is mandated by the Constitution to set up an early warning and early response system responsible for early detection of potential violent conflicts and disputes, must swiftly set up the important system in collaboration with churches and civil society in order to minimise incidences of violence as the nation approaches the election.”
The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) on Thursday described the attacks as criminal.
“ZADHR calls upon for the police to swiftly investigate and bring to justice the perpetrators of these acts. The new government must prove its deviation from the past by creating a conducive electoral environment where political violence is not tolerated,” the human rights organisation said.
African News Agency/ANA