THE Centre for Community Development in Zimbabwe (CCDZ) has intensified calls for the depoliticisation of government institutions and establishment of independent commissions promoting democracy.
The organisation’s calls come in light of the ongoing onslaught on people deemed to be supporters of ousted Zanu PF Mashonaland West provincial chairperson and independent candidate for the June 10 Hurungwe West by-elections, Temba Mliswa.
In a statement yesterday, CCDZ said national institutions such as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) must be independent, impartial and non-partisan in line with the international best practices.
“The electoral laws should be aligned with the Constitution. In addition, CCDZ recommends that the State should fulfil its obligation as provided for in Section 11 of the Constitution which commands the State to take all practical measures to protect the rights and freedoms enshrined in Chapter 4 to promote their full realisation and fulfilment,” CCDZ said.
The centre was deeply worried about the gross human rights abuses being perpetrated and with impunity allegedly by Zanu PF in Hurungwe West ahead of the June by-elections.
“The abuses include the illegal invasion of Mliswa’s property, assault of his workers, abduction and torture of traditional leaders perceived to be his supporters, intimidation of traditional leaders and verbal insults on Mliswa and his supporters,” CCDZ said.
The organisation accused Zanu PF secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo, who is also Local Government and National Housing minister, of masterminding the violence in the constituency.
“Minister Chombo has openly threatened all traditional leaders and residents in Hurungwe West with unspecified action if they continue supporting the candidature of Mliswa for the Hurungwe West seat. CCDZ finds this to be utter abuse of office given that traditional leaders fall under the Local Government ministry led by Chombo,” it said.
“Following Chombo’s threats, two headmen, Kapambara and Mangisi, were recently abducted, severely tortured and dumped.”
The human rights body went on to accuse the police and acting Zanu PF Mashonaland West chairperson Ziyambi Ziyambi, who is also the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, of allegedly conniving not to take action.
“Instead, they are now seeking to arrest the victimised headmen for ‘fabricating the abductions’. Furthermore, the police took no action to arrest Zanu PF youths who committed aggravated assault against four of Mliswa’s farm workers, namely Patricia Nduna, Meeting Rice, Advance Choto and Chamunorwa Jongwe, using logs and electric cables,” CCDZ said.
“The above allegations against Zanu PF are a testimony of the party’s conflation of government and political party issues, which is totally unconstitutional,” the human rights group said.
“We maintain that elections in Zimbabwe do not make any difference as long as the electoral environment is characterised by intimidation, violence, partisan State institutions and media and a partial electoral body.”