2023 general elections may be drenched in bloodbath
POLITICAL violence by Zanu PF activists on main opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa, his party supporters and journalists this week signalled a potential bloodbath ahead of crucial general elections next year.
Zimbabwe has a long history of political violence, especially during elections, dating back to its independence from Britain in 1980. Most of the polls since then have been drenched in blood amid violence, brutality and killings.
Just this week, on Tuesday, Chamisa’s convoy of vehicles came under attack from suspected Zanu PF militants in Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe in Mashonaland East province, an area perceived as the ruling party’s stronghold, resulting in several injuries.
A day later, Chamisa’s convoy met the same fate when he tried to visit Wedza, also in Mashonaland East, to meet his party supporters.
On Thursday, suspected Zanu PF supporters in Gokwe, Midlands province, ambushed Chamisa’s convoy, and physically attacked journalists and some CCC supporters.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said it was “alarmed at the increase in the levels of political intolerance, which is characterised by violence, targeting journalists and members of the opposition CCC”.
The journalists attacked included Tongai Mwenje, Pellagia Mpurwa, Chelsea Mashayamombe and Toneo Rutsito who reportedly lost a tooth in the violence.
“So far, no arrests have been made, and the police is yet to issue any statements regarding these acts of violence, which we expect to be nipped through swift and impartial action by the police to arraign the perpetrators,” Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition spokesperson Obert Masaraure said.
“Police should — without fear or favour — investigate, arrest and prosecute perpetrators of political violence, many of whom are known, this not only enhances public confidence of the law enforcement agents, but also deters would-be perpetrators, and creates a peaceful and free environment as Zimbabwe heads for the 2023 elections,” he said.
“The coalition further implores the police not to coalesce with the ruling party in denying the opposition and civil society actors the space to conduct their business in line with the constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of association, assembly and expression.
“The role of the police in preventing violence and prosecuting perpetrators of violence is clearly encapsulated in section 219 of the constitution, which gives the police service the mandate of preventing crime, protecting lives and property, maintaining law and order, upholding the constitution and enforcing the law without fear or favour. It is therefore with no doubt that having such recurring incidents of violence is an indictment on the police.”
The group further said: “We further call on President (Emmerson) Mnangagwa to publicly denounce violence within his party and live up to his own words, when — while addressing a Zanu PF Politburo meeting on Tuesday — he said Zanu PF supporters should preach the gospel of peace, unity and love.
“It would be hypocritical of him to publicly denounce violence, while secretly condoning it, and in light of these recurring incidents, it is only prudent for Mnangagwa to call out his party supporters. Lastly, we urge the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to operationalise the Multi-Party Liaison Committee, so that political parties not adhering to the code of conduct on elections are held accountable.” —— Staff Writer.