Violence Against Opposition in By-Elections Campaign
The opposition is once again faced with the ever increasing violence as by-elections are being held in Zimbabwe. Of concern to D.A.R.E Political Party is violence in Hurungwe which obviously has spiraled into Harare campaigns where there has been recorded cases of violence against the opposition.
The point is we have seen the complicity of state arms in this violence. This is clearly so in Hurungwe, GlenView South, Highfield West and Kuwadzana. In Hurungwe the opposition candidate’s farm has been invaded and his workers assaulted grievously with no arrest to date. Hurungwe is in fear as people are being threatened, kidnapped, tortured and have practically been imprisoned in their country.
The recent video of Ignatious Chiminya Chombo addressing Sabhukus and chiefs and seconding to them state security personnel has pointed at a gross abuse of authority, office and state arms to further partisan interest. The state intelligence apparatus have been roped in to be involved in influencing the vote while traditional leaders through fear being forced to play ball with Zanu Pf against their better judgement. Hurungwe can never be considered free and fair elections and violence there is disgusting, smacking of debauchery and gross human rights abuses while the police fail to act in defence of people.
The very scourge of violence has spread to by-election areas in Harare where opposition supporters have been attacked in Glen View, Highfield and Kuwadzana over the past weekend. Once again no criminals and perpetrators were arrested as the law agencies froze in the face of party power. It points to lawlesness and criminal immunity.
It is really pathetic and against the spirit of the constitution of Zimbabwe and democracy at large. The constitution guarantees freedom of expression, political persuasion and freedom of movement. The purpose of having elections is contestation of ideas and promise and not violence and muscle. It is in light of the scourge of violence that we ask ZEC to declare that conditions for free and fair elections do not exist and have not existed in Zimbabwe.
The events prior to any election affects the result on voting day and after. With this in mind we call upon ZEC to disqualify Zanu Pf in the pending by-elections. Even after bussing in people from Harare South and other people from other constituencies Zanu Pf continues to intimidate oposition mobilisers which is a violation of the electoral act. Mr Terence Makupe in his court case has glaringly pointed out the fact that ZEC takes orders from Zanu Pf functionaries and the nomination court was adjourned from the normal bussines time of 16:30 to way after 21:00 to accomodate Zanu PF.
Such was the case in Headlands constituency where Didymus Mutasa was disqualified with Zanu PF threatening electoral court officials. It is apparent that ZEC is not impartial in the act of unfair inclinations towards elections in Zimbabwe. We are obviously going into an election with a half baked voters roll and there is more room for manipulation of election results. We are cogniscent of the need to reform the electoral process in Zimbabwe and especially the secretariat at ZEC, the influence of Zanu PF on security apparatus and abuse of such personnel to further entrench the ruling party hedgemony.
We are indeed appealing to the generality of Zimbabweans to the fact that, although we can not let baboons roam the fields at will, we realise the need for unity in fighting for democratic elections in Zimbabwe at whatever cost.
Clemence Tauya Nhliziyo
Deputy Head of Communication.
Democratic Assembly For Restoration And Empowerment (D.A.R.E)