27 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Let's Adopt Zero Tolerance On Political Violence

Tensions are mounting in Zimbabwe ahead of a referendum on the new constitution. Opposition leaders have accused the ruling Zanu-PF party of ... ( Resource: Zimbabwe Tense Ahead of Constitution Poll )


We condemn the latest incidences of politically motivated violence and urge the police to leave no stone unturned in bringing the perpetrators to account for their actions. The death of 12-year-old Christpowers Maisiri of Headlands, Manicaland Province, in an inferno allegedly caused by his father's political opponents calls upon all political players in the country to condemn it in the strongest sense.

We also urge political parties to first report to the police, and not to newspapers, any incidences of political violence.

Zimbabwe is preparing for a referendum to choose a new constitution, after which it will go for elections and the last thing this country would want is political violence, which has the effect of reversing all the gains made over the past few years as Zimbabweans from across the political divide found each other despite their ideological differences.

President Mugabe has on numerous platforms called on Zimbabweans to shun violence and observe peace and respect the sanctity of life.

Leaders of other parties in the inclusive Government have also taken a cue from the President to condemn violence in the strongest possible terms.

It is against this backdrop that we urge all stakeholders in Zimbabwe's body politic - political parties, civil society and individuals -- to adopt a holistic approach to nip politically-motivated violence in the bud and move as one people towards building a peaceful Zimbabwe.

No one should die in an attempt to exercise his/her constitutional right to vote.

In as much as there are political differences among party officials on ideological grounds, it has emerged that some unscrupulous elements are taking advantage of some sudden deaths and mishaps that befall some people to allege political violence.

These people, among them some members of political parties and non governmental organisations, rush to publish falsehoods in local and international media accusing their political opponents of murdering their alleged members.

We implore members of such political parties to desist from engaging in such acts because it is a recipe for national disaster.

Political party leaders should be accountable for the actions of their supporters.

We call on Zimbabweans to make the police their first port of call whenever they are confronted with difficult situations where proper and impartial reports of what will have transpired are recorded.

Party leaders have spoken against violence on several occasions and one wonders who is behind these reported cases of violence.

If it's the work of hired mercenaries bent of disturbing peace and having the country demonised by the West, surely the long arm of the law should deal with such perpetrators.

We also hope that some political parties are going to use their grassroots structures to condemn violence and encourage peaceful co-existence. Why are party supporters not taking a cue from their leaders who are working well in the inclusive Government to preach peace and reconciliation?

The people should be reminded that when arrested for perpetrating violence, it's them who will stand in the dock and later languish in jails, leaving their families suffering.

As the country gears up for the referendum and subsequently the harmonised elections, there is a need for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to make sure that the code of conduct for political gladiators is in place on time, spelling out clearly what forms of penalties to be meted on perpetrators of violence.

The country should adopt a zero tolerance on political violence.

The electoral body should ensure that all party officials implicated in violent activities are not allowed to hold public office and sent to jail.

Special courts should be in place to promptly deal with these cases so that those found on the wrong side of the law will be subjected to all due processes.

The isolated cases of violence that have been reported, we hope, will jolt the authorities into action and take appropriate measures.

The people should live to enjoy the peace and democracy brought about by the liberation struggle.

Violence is bad for our country.

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