Full Text: ZRP Warns Political Parties Against Violence During Primary, Harmonised Elections

Senior Assistant Commissioner B Makodza, the ZRP 2018 Elections Commander has warned all political parties to maintain law and order and as they hold primary elections as well as during the harmonised elections. He warned that the courts can impose a sentence of 10 years in prison for politically motivated violence.

We publish the statement below in full

As the nation prepares for the 2018 harmonised elections which are due between July and August 2018, the Zimbabwe Republic Police would like to warn political parties and their members to desist from engaging in political violence as they hold primary elections and during harmonised elections.

Any form of violence threats or harassment of rival contenders will be dealt with in terms of the country’s laws. Adequate security provisions have been put in place by the Police 10 to ensure primary and harmonised elections are held in a Peaceful environment.

In this respect, the Judiciary in liaison with the police and other stakeholders has set up special courts throughout the country to speedily deal with politically motivated crimes

On the other hand, the Commissioner General of Police has set up teams of experienced investigators in provinces to expedite the investigation and compilation of dockets for prosecution. This is in line with section 133H of the Electoral Act, Chapter 2.13.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police has engaged political parties, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and other stakeholders to ensure an environment which is conducive for the holding of peaceful, credible and violence-free elections is maintained.

Let me reiterate that anyone who engages in any form of political violence, will certainly face the full wrath of the law.

The following intimidatory practices which are prohibited under the Electoral Act will not be tolerated,

• Inflicting or threatening to inflict bodily injury upon a person.
• Abducting a person or detaining a person against his or her will.
• Causing or threatening to cause unlawful damage to a person’s property
• Withholding or threatening to withhold from a person any assistance or benefit to which that person is entitled.
• Illegally doing or threatening to do anything to the disadvantage of a person
• Compelling or attempting to compel a person or persons generally to attend or participate in any political event through intimidation, preventing or obstructing a political party or candidate from campaigning in any election.

We urge the media to continue to report objectively and factually during these plebiscites and let us all avoid peddling hate speech and falsehoods.

Section 36 (I) of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act, Chapter 9:23 provides that courts can impose a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment to anyone who commits politically motivated crimes, thus members of the public, are accordingly ‘warned.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police appeals to all political parties to cooperate with police officers to ensure the maintenance of law and order before, during and after the harmonised elections.