Heal Zimbabwe is appalled by violent episodes of intra-party violence that rocked MDC-T consensus meetings in several districts across the country over the weekend. In Budiriro, Harare, MDC-T supporters clashed during a consensus meeting at Budiriro 2 Training centre after disagreements over the selection of Parliamentary and Council candidates. Budiriro Legislator, Costa Machingauta had to flee the venue of the meeting as party youths charged against him. In Glen View North, party supporters turned violent and accused sitting Legislator Fani Munengami of maliciously removing names of those contesting him in the party’s primary elections. Similar incidences of violence were also recorded in Glen View South where Vimbai Tsvangirai Java an aspiring Legislator had to be escorted out of the venue after party supporters turned violent and accused her of imposing herself in the constituency. Several incidences of violence and intimidation were also recorded in Glen Norah, Zengeza, Kambuzuma and Gokwe.
HZT is dismayed by the continued disregard of political tolerance among political parties as the nation braces for the much awaited 2018 elections. Hardly a week ago, violence and intimidation rocked ZANU PF primary elections as party supporters clashed over reports of vote rigging and manipulation of voter registers. Heal Zimbabwe views the lack of political tolerance as a recipe for political violence. It is also Heal Zimbabwe’s view that tolerance, pluralism are principles central to the attainment of peace and also form core pillars of democracy.
In light of this, Heal Zimbabwe implores MDC-T and other political parties to abide by the Electoral Code of Conduct for Political Parties and Candidates which stipulates that NO political party or any of its members or supporters, and NO candidate or any of his or her supporters, may:
(a) Use violence, or threaten violence or incite or encourage the use of violence, against anyone on account of his or her political opinions or membership or support of a political party or participation in the election;
(b) Intimidate, or incite or encourage the intimidation, of anyone on account of his or her political opinions or membership or support of a political party; act in a way that may provoke violence or intimidation;
(c) Use violence or threats or illegal pressure to force voter to refrain from voting or to vote for a candidate or political party against his or her will;
(d) Force a voter to reveal the identity of the candidate voted for or take reprisals against a person because of the way in which he or she has voted or is believed to have voted.
Heal Zimbabwe implores Independent Commissions that support democracy such as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) and Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) to work hand in glove with other key stakeholders to set up early warning and early response mechanism to detect and respond to cases of political violence. Added to this, the police must also effectively maintain order without fear and bias as enshrined in Section 219 of the constitution. Political parties must also come up with stiffer penalties for supporters who perpetrate violence.