17 May 2018

Zimbabwe: ZPP Condemns MDC-T Primary Elections Violence

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The Zimbabwe Peace Project notes with concern incidents of violence reported in some areas where the opposition MDC-T is conducting processes to select candidates for the impending elections.

Incididents of political violence were reported in Glen View, Glen Norah, Budiriro, Chitungwiza as well as Kambuzuma where party supporters failed to reach consensus on who would represent them forcing some of them to engage in violence and protests.

Some of the protests which spilled to the party's headquarters ended in violence. A Herald photographer Tawanda Mudimu who was on assignment covering the demonstrations was nearly manhandled by party youths and had to flee. The ZPP conducts all acts of violence against journalists in the course of their duty to inform the public.

The ZPP notices that the skirmishes have been concentrated in traditional opposition strongholds particularly the high density areas in Harare. While contradictions on the method to use have been reported elsewhere in places such as Mutare, they have not been as violent as in Harare. ZPP is particularly disaffected because political parties continue to pay lip service when it comes to reprimanding those who perpetuate violence are known.

In a number of its Monthly Monitoring Reports in the last few months, the ZPP has warned of the likelihood of violent conflict increasing as a result of internal party processes to select candidates to contest in the forthcoming elections. The factions of Zanu PF and the sense of entitlement 'chinhu chedu' caused the chaos that was the signature of the recently concluded primary elections where all manner of incidents were recorded from firing gunshots to burning ballot papers. In the opposition outstanding issues of the successor to the late Morgan Tsvangirai coupled with the accommodation of Alliance members has caused serious problems in the MDC-T, which is not having primary elections in all constituencies. Rather there are what they are calling 'consensus processes,' which some members of the party have refused to accept.

The Electoral Act places a duty on political parties to ensure that their members desist from violent conduct and adhere to standards internally that minimise discontent that may trigger conflict and violence. The MDC-T must ensure that its internal processes are transparent and democratic to minimise such discontent.

The ZPP also urges the police through the National Elections Command to assume its Constitutional mandate of protecting lives and property when supporters in political parties fail to amicably resolve their issues.

ZPP is a Non Governmental Organization that was founded in 2000 by a group of faith based and human rights NGOs working and interested in human rights and peace-building initiatives. ZPP has become a vehicle for civic interventions in times of political crises. In particular, ZPP seeks to monitor and document incidents of human rights violations and breaches of peace.

If you are concerned about acts of violence in your community, ZPP encourages you to get in touch with us on Hotline and WhatsApp numbers +263 774 883 406 and +263 774 883 417 Toll Free: 080 80199

Source: Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP)

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