HUMAN rights watchdogs have urged political parties to rein in their supporters and ensure peaceful proceedings of their meetings, saying intolerance poses a threat to peace as the country heads for the 2018 elections.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
This follows the violence that marred Zanu PF’s provincial co-ordinating committee meeting in Bulawayo, resulting in the arrest of several ruling party officials.
Zanu PF supporters clashed over the holding of the meeting, with a rival camp angry over the failure of the provincial executive to pass a vote of no-confidence in political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere.
Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) and Heal Zimbabwe Trust (HZT) condemned the political intolerance, saying it brewed chaos ahead of the next elections.
HZT went further to call on the police to arrest the perpetrators to put a stop to the political intolerance.
“Heal Zimbabwe is, therefore, concerned with such levels of political intolerance within political parties. It is such intolerance that poses a serious threat to the prevalence of peace particularly as the nation prepares for the 2018 elections.
“Heal Zimbabwe implores the police to enforce the law by bringing to book all perpetrators of violence. Heal Zimbabwe further urges all political parties to rein in on their supporters so that they desist from perpetrating violence,” HZT said on Thursday.
Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko on Wednesday courted controversy after he stormed Bulawayo Central Police Station to protest the arrest of several party supporters, reportedly belonging to a faction he allegedly is aligned to.
ZPP weighed in calling on political parties to “avoid statements that could incite violence. Political leaders influence opinions and actions of many citizens. Reckless utterances and verbal threats may lead to unpredicted actions with dire effects on the populace.
“ZPP is worried that unless political parties rein in their supporters and the language they use, such incidents will mar the environment of the 2018 elections.”