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Political violence likely to rise — judge

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High Court judge Justice Lawrence Kamocha has urged the police and judicial officials to remain vigilant and impartial when handling cases of politically-motivated violence in order to retain their credibility.

Opening the Gweru High Court circuit yesterday, Justice Kamocha said political violence cases were likely to escalate in light of possible elections this year.

“I would urge all magistrates and prosecutors in the light of the impending election to apply the law to the best of their ability, equally, impartially, professionally without fear or favour in respect of those who appear before them facing politically-motivated crimes . . . irrespective of political affiliation,” said Justice Kamocha.

“What it means is members of the force should rise to the occasion and without fear or favour arrest all those who are involved in or incite political violence irrespective of their political affiliation or their standing in life. The law must apply to all so as to avoid the perception that the law is being applied selectively or arbitrarily.

“This must be matched with actual conduct and sincerity on the part of all politicians and others in positions of influence in our society to demonstrate by actions and deeds that violence has no part to play in our future and destiny.”

He also urged politicians to desist from using inflammatory language during political campaigns.

“I say so because when the audience hears intemperate outbursts from their candidates, it goes a step further and translates the intemperate outbursts and denigrations into acts of violence.”

The three principals in the inclusive government, President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, recently agreed to end political violence and are set to address joint rallies aimed at condemning acts of violence.

Justice Kamocha also said the judiciary was getting worried over the upsurge in divorce cases.

“In the year 2010, the High Court in Harare received 783 divorce cases while in Bulawayo it was 433 cases.

“The country had a total of 1 216 divorce cases in 2010 and the figure went up to 1 551 last year.

“A young couple gets married and shortly afterwards or after some time one of the spouses leaves the country in search of greener pastures in the Diaspora in the hope that the other
spouse would follow in due course,” said Justice Kamocha citing distant relationships as one of the major causes of divorce.

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